Candles burn strongly in remembrance

AROUND 1500 people attended Shoah remembrance events across Sydney on Sunday and Monday.

Scores attended the memorial service at Rookwood Cemetery and the name-reading ceremony at Sydney Jewish Museum, while 700 packed Moriah College for the Eastern Suburbs communal commemoration. A similar event at Masada College on Monday night was attended by around 400 people.

The guest speaker for the commemoration events at Moriah and Masada colleges was Associate Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies Mark Baker.

In a passionate speech at Sunday night’s event, Monash University’s Prof Baker spoke of the importance of remembering.

“The Jews are known as the people of the book but we are also witnesses to history,” he said.

“Now history has placed upon us the obligation to once again stand and to bear witness.”

The grandchildren of six survivors, five of whom are still alive, lit candles for each million who perished at the hands of the Nazis.

Eight-year-old David Caplan spoke with a confidence beyond his years as he told the story of his grandmother, Sophie Caplan.

Sasha Rothman spoke emotionally about her grandmother, Renia Kacen, who passed away in 1998. “This remaining empty chair is for my nanna,” she said. “She is a heroine, not only because she survived every attempt the Nazis made to take her life, but because she survived the trauma and loneliness that came from rebuilding her life.”

The lighting of the candle for the Righteous among the Nations was performed by Vivienne Ingram in honour of her mother, Irena Szumska-Ingram.

GARETH NARUNSKY

Eight-year-old David Caplan lights a candle for his grandmother, Sophie Caplan