Yom HaShoah Commemoration Planned for April 11

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1.

Each year, there is a time to remember those lost in the Holocaust, to celebrate the precious gift of life, to honor those who saved others while risking their own safety and security, and to learn the lessons of tolerance, valuing our differences and working together to make the world a better, safer, more understanding place.

This year, the annual community-wide Yom HaShoah Holocaust Commemoration program, sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council, will be held Thursday, April 11, at 7 p.m. at Bellarmine University. The theme of this year’s program is “Righteous Among the Nations.”

During the program, the righteous gentiles – those who were not Jewish, but whose  words and/or actions actively opposed the Holocaust, often at great risk to their own lives – will be honored.

The featured speaker will be David Lee Preston, a reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News and cnn.com. Preston’s mother was a Holocaust survivor who was hidden by two Polish Catholics in the sewers of Lvov. The story was made into a Polish movie, “In Darkness.”

During the program, tribute will be paid to Father Stanley A. Schmidt, a former priest in Louisville who devoted much of his life to interfaith relations. During World War II, he was in seminary in Austria and was deeply affected by what happened to the Jews.

Later, in Louisville, he was an activist on behalf of Soviet Jewry and in the early 1980’s chaired the Interreligious Council on Soviet Jewry. He was the first president of the Kentuckiana Interfaith Community and of its predecessor, the Louisville Area Interchurch Organization for Service, and helped found the Community Hunger Walk. He also served as the director of the Office of Ecumenical Affairs for the Archdiocese of Louisville and on the board of the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

In 1981, the JCC honored him with the Blanche B. Ottenheimer Award.

Those present will have the opportunity to light memorial candles and the names Louisvillians have submitted of family members who perished in the Holocaust will be remembered. Fred Whittaker, a teacher at St. Francis of Assisi is chairing this year’s program.


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