On Thursday, April 18, the Hill Air Force Base Chapel was the site for a ceremony for Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Speaker at the event was former U.S. ambassador to Mauritius and the Seychelles, John Price, whose family fled Nazi Germany when he was just five years old, and settled in New York in 1940.
During 1933-1945 more than 6 million people were murdered for racial and ethnic reasons. The Day of Remembrance is held to remember the victims of the holocaust and reflect on having respect for all people today.
"The history of the Holocaust offers an opportunity to reflect on the moral responsibilities of individuals, societies and governments," said Col. Sarah Zabel, 75th Air Base Wing commander.
In his remarks, Price gave a detailed account of growing up in Germany during the Holocaust.
In 1938 he recalls many family and friends going away on trips and never returning. He said that he didn't realize until later that many of them were sent to concentration camps.
He also recalled Nov. 9, 1938, known as the Night of Broken Glass. That night in retaliation for the assassination of a German diplomat in Paris, many Germans stormed the streets and destroyed approximately 7,500 homes and stores; 200 synagogues were burned. Jews were killed in the streets and around 30 thousand were forced into concentration camps.
"We could hear the roar of the crowds. So we closed the curtains, turned off the lights and hid while my father prayed over and over for our safety ," said Price.
It was with the help of a non-Jewish family friend that Price's family was able to get passports and visas so they could escape Germany on a boat carrying bananas to Panama. The borders were sealed only weeks later.
"As we reflect on the Holocaust, we need to remember the unsung heroes. The non-Jews who they saved, a few, even one. They took considerable risk to themselves and their families and should be honored," said Price.
Price ended his talk by asking everyone to develop more understanding of other people's beliefs and to be aware of the atrocities around us.
"Our planet is shrinking, we are all drinking from the same fountain. Let us strive to eliminate hatred and become more tolerant of each other," said Price.
After Price spoke, a candle lighting ceremony was held. Six candles were lit to signify the 6 million Jews who were killed and a moment of silence was held to reflect on them and those who helped save many people from the same fate.
The closing remarks of Staff Sgt. Kenneth Beach perfectly summed up the reason for holding the Day of Remembrance every year.
"One day first-hand accounts such as Ambassador Price's will no longer exist. It is important that we make a concerted effort to pass it on for generations to come. It is important to maintain vigilance and remain aware of what happened to avoid repeating mistakes of the past, " said Beach.