Tomorrow evening, as Henry Greenbaum passes a lighted candle to his son Stanley in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, he'll say a silent prayer and "wonder why I'm alive."
Greenbaum, 52, a Nazi concentration camp survivor, will participate for the third time in an annual community service marking Yom Hoshoah or Holocaust heroes and martyrs day. Traditionally, during the prayer service, six concentration camp survivors -- one for each million Jews killed -- light a candle and pass it to their son or daughter or the child of another survivor. Their children then place the candle in a menorah, crafted by another local survivor.
Although Greenbaum says the ceremony "hurts a lot" as he is overwhelmed by memories of his mother, five sisters and their children -- all killed in the camps -- he continues participating so the Holocaust will not be forgotten.
This year, the community ceremony will be held at 8:30 p.m. tomorrow at Washington Hebrew Congregation, Massachusetts Avenue and Macomb Street NW, on the eve of the day of mourning.
Sunday also marks the start of the "Days of Rememberance of Victims of the Holocaust," a week-long commemoration of the genocide of the Jews during World War II. Congress recently designed the week in a joint resolution. wIt said Americans should "remain eternally vigilant against all tyranny, recognizing that tyranny provides a breeding ground for bigotry to flourish."
Many Jewish families will light memorial candles in their homes tommorrow evening in recognition of the day. The National Conference on Christians and Jews has published a liturgy that can be used for similar memorial services in Christian churches.