(PASSAIC) – Assembly Deputy Speaker Gary Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic) issued the following statement on Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“Today is a dark day for both the Jewish people and for the world, and a day that hits close to home for me personally.
“I am proud of my faith and I am proud of my people who have suffered through so much tragedy throughout history. Today is when we remember one of the most gruesome tragedies of them all. Today is when we remember the Holocaust.
“6 million Jews were stolen from us between 1939 and 1945, in addition to millions of non-Jews. Millions of husbands and wives; millions of daughters and sons; millions of souls lost.
“I have friends who were either forced to watch their families perish, or whose parents and grandparents did.
“As each day passes, there are less people who can tell these horrific stories of loss and survival. That is why it is our responsibility to tell the stories of those who could not escape the barbarity of the Nazis. It is our responsibility to ensure that this never happens again, and to prevent history from turning into folklore.
“Recently the world has seen a rise of Anti-Semitism, with hate crimes occurring at rates not seen since the Holocaust. This is why we must keep the spirits alive of those who were lost.
“New Jersey is home to one of the largest Jewish communities in the United States, and therefore is home to one of the largest communities of Holocaust survivors in the country.
“The fact that so many of these heroes call New Jersey home is a blessing to us all, and we must do everything in our power to honor their legacy and ensure that their stories of survival are never forgotten.
“And for those who were lost: You will forever be in our hearts. Thank you for everything. Baruch Dayan HaEmet.”