James Waller, Staff Reporter
On the evening of April 2, Jacksonville State University held an assembly in Leone Cole Auditorium in remembrance of the Holocaust and those who were lost because of it.
The program, which is usually an annual event for JSU, was held for the first time since 2017 due to the March 19, 2018 tornadoes causing campus to close. It was the first time since 1982 the event was not held at Jacksonville State.
The event is meant to help keep history alive as well as educating JSU students about the Holocaust.
“Every year, the Jacksonville State University Holocaust Remembrance Committee strives to retell the stories of the Holocaust to keep the voices from the past alive,” JSU’s website explains.
After the ceremony was introduced by Kasey Gamble, president of the university’s Student Government Association, winners of the Imagining the Holocaust Writing contest for high school and middle school students read excerpts of their work.
Second-generation Holocaust survivor Eli Pinhas spoke to the audience, telling stories of his family’s experience.
Pinhas’s talk began by detailing Jewish oppression through European history leading up to the Holocaust. Pinhas detailed the occupation of Greece during World War II and how it’s Jews were treated by the occupying German forces, abused, their homes taken, and eventually carted away to death camps outside of Greece.
Pinhas’s father, Morris, managed to escape by going to Athens, which was occupied by the Italians at the time. After Morris met Matilda, Eli’s mother, the two immigrated to the United States.
Pinhas was born in Atlanta, Georgia, but most of his extended family still resides in Thessaloniki, Greece.