Featured speaker Ilie Wacs, who spent the first part of his childhood in Vienna, Austria, will talk about his experiences, and those of his sister and other family members. Wacs survived Kristallnacht, a wave of state-sponsored anti-Jewish violence in Germany and Austria on Nov. 9 and 10, 1938, before fleeing Vienna and spending World War II in Shanghai, China.
Wacs and his sister, Deborah Strobin, wrote “Uncommon Journey,” their memoir about that time.
At the service, prayers and reflections will be offered by rabbis from two Bayonne Jewish congregations and Christian pastors from Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox churches.
Mayor Mark Smith and other elected officials will present proclamations and offer brief remarks. Members of Bayonne’s veterans’ groups will carry the colors and the banners of their posts. Bayonne students will also participate in the processional.
The event will include a candle-lighting ceremony in which Holocaust survivors and others will take part.
The winner of the Holocaust essay contest at Bayonne High School will read from the essay and will receive an award sponsored by the Preminger and Epstein families.
The event is sponsored by the United Jewish Appeal Federation of Bayonne and the Bayonne Interfaith Clergy, and is hosted by the city of Bayonne. Helene Kessel Nagiar and Joseph Ryan will co-chair the service. Smith is the honorary chairman.
The public is invited to attend. – Joseph Passantino