The Reading of the Names was held in Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland on Tuesday, April 18 afternoon in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day by the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education (OJMCHE).
More than six million people were k!lled in the Nazi German concentration camp Auschwitz in Poland, which was liberated today, 78 years ago. The Reading of the Names is an annual observance when people all across the globe publicly recite the names, ages, and places of birth of those who perished in the Holocaust.
According to Judy Margles, the director of OJMCHE, “It’s an opportunity to take some time and reflect and read aloud the names of those who were m*rdered in the Holocaust.” According to Margles, the names are sent to OJMCHE from the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Israel.
“We read about 5,000 names over the course of eight hours,” she said. Margles stressed the value of memorials in keeping the memory of the departed alive. She said it is a perfect moment for communities to show their gratitude to the survivors.
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“Our community of survivors of the Holocaust is vital to us, but especially at my museum,” she said. “Remembering is a way to teach. We want our students, and ad*lts alike, who come and see our exhibitions or participate in one of our programs, to understand that understanding the way that the Holocaust happened is a way to understand how we might prevent current and future atrocities.”
The Oregon Museum moved into its permanent 15,000-square-foot home at 724 Northwest Davis Street, close to downtown Portland’s North Park Blocks, in 2017. The museum’s expansion made room for cutting-edge, interactive displays. Virtual programming is extensive and includes movies, talks, and more.
“I think especially today, and a time of demonstrably rising antisemitism, it’s an opportunity for the entire community to come together and understand how violent hate can be. How we must all work together to combat hate in our community,” said Margles.