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Why Hold a Names Reading Ceremony



Transcript

[Narrator] Stein, Viktor, from Hungary. Prinz, Beatrix, perished at Bergen Belsen. Brauner, Ber, from Poland. Leser, Julius, perished at Dachau.

[Text on screen] Reading the names of men, women, and children killed by Nazi Germany and its collaborators is a simple and powerful way to remember these individuals.

Paul Garver, Director, Museum Services, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:
A names reading is a very symbolic yet highly meaningful act.

Cathleen Cadigan, High School Teacher, Dallas, Texas:
Victims of the Holocaust don’t have a grave. And so, in that way, reciting the names in any given community allows for them to be memorialized.

Sara Bloomfield, Director, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:
It would be so easy just to think about the statistics—6 million. But what does “6 million” mean? I think it’s something we can’t really grasp.

[Text on screen] Reading the names of even a small fraction of those who were killed allows people of all ages to directly appreciate in a Days of Remembrance commemoration.

Paul Garver, Director, Museum Services, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:
We owe it to those who perished during the Holocaust to connect with them in some way, to honor them and to remember them.

Robert Hadley, High School Teacher, Portland, Oregon:
To remember these people as human beings, as individuals, who have a life story, who had a history.

Sara Bloomfield, Director, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:
It’s meant for us to understand this happened to people like us. It happened one by one. It happened gradually. And also to remind us of the dignity of each of these individuals. And that we restore their memory by this simple act of reading their name.

Paul Garver, Director, Museum Services, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:
And in that moment of reading the name or hearing the names, people not only become in tune with what took place during that time, but also, it hopefully invokes a sense of responsibility to themselves, to others and their role in today’s society.

[Narrator] Gutman, Rivka, from Romania. Seelig, Karl, perished at Dachau. Prostak, Benjamin, from Romania.

Reading the names of the men, women, and children killed during the Holocaust is a symbolic yet very personal way of remembering these individuals. This video explains why the Museum holds a names reading ceremony every year during Days of Remembrance and encourages communities around the country to do the same.

The Museum has created a list of 5,000 names of victims of the Holocaust. Invite members of your community to take turns reading aloud a few or all of the names listed. Approximately 650 names can be read in an hour.

Names List of Victims of the Holocaust (PDF)

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