Reader: Feiga Azman, died Auschwitz, age 7.

Reader: Abram Arzelat, born in Odessa, died in Odessa, 1941, age 6.

COLLEEN GREGO (Teacher, Merton Williams Middle School, Hilton, New York): Berka Schein, born 1937, died Auschwitz, 1944, age 7.

The experience of reading the names was overwhelming. I was in tears before it started…

Reader: Feigar Kerzenberg…

GREGO: …and when our students see that there are people like them, the same age and younger, it means something. It means something so different from what we can teach in the classroom.

ZELLA SHABASSON: Both of my parents were Holocaust survivors, both from Poland. And they both lost both their parents, and they lost siblings, cousins, friends, loved ones.

MICHAEL ROSENBERG (reading names): …Birenbaum Wisentraum…

I was fortunate to be able to say my namesake, my great uncle, who was killed in Auschwitz at age 16, and we have been kind of on a journey the past couple of years learning about him, because we didn’t know too much about him. Now at least we have one photo taken of him shortly before he was killed in Auschwitz.

SHABASSON: Reading the names makes me feel like I can continue their memories, since there’s not many people left who even remember them, and no place to visit their remains.

GREGO: Our students have studied the Holocaust pretty extensively in school before they came there, and so for them this was a culmination and a chance for them to begin to connect those dots and make meaning and decide how they are going to go foward and live their lives.

Reader: Judith Salzer, born Gyor, died Auschwitz age 7…

Holocaust Remembrance: Reading the Names

For Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, the US Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC invites volunteers and visitors to read the names of people who were killed during the Holocaust. The ceremony is held each day in the Hall of Remembrance during the museum’s week-long Days of Remembrance commemoration. We spoke with Colleen Grego, a middle school history teacher from Hilton, New York, who read the names of children who perished, and with Zella Shabasson and her son, Michael Rosenberg, who read names of family members who died in the Holocaust.