"In communities around the world this week, people from all denominations are taking time to pause and reflect on the horrors inflicted on six million men, women and children," said Union City Mayor Brian Stack. "It is my honor to take a local leadership role in reminding the people of this community of the horrors of the Holocaust in the hope that it never happens again."
This year's theme is remembering the Past for the Sake of the Future, which is what the fifth grade students from the Bnos Sanz Education Center that attended the ceremony were taught.
"We have to teach children not to forget what happened and to prevent it," said Siggi Wilzig, chairman of the board of the Trust Company Bank and a Holocaust survivor who spoke at the ceremony.
The center will also include a Holocaust Memorial in the library of the new building being added to the school. Wilzig, who is also one of the founders of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., accepted the invitation to speak at the Union City ceremony after turning down many other invitations, because of the community in the city.
"There is a special synergy between the Holocaust and its survivors and the city of Union City," agreed Dr. Sidney Greenwald, chairman of the International Board of the Sanz Medical Center/Liniado Hospital in Nitanya, Israel.
Greenwald added that his hospital was founded by Rabbi S.L. Halberstan who lived in Union City when he formed the board that spurred the construction of the hospital. Halberstan, also a Holocaust survivor, founded the Hasidic Community in Union City more than 30 years ago as well.
Although the ceremony took place on April 18, Yom Hashoah, the national Day of Remembrance Commemoration, was held on April 19 in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol.
The year 2001 marks the 60th Anniversary of the beginning of the Holocaust.