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By Katherine Mapp
NSWC PCD Public Affairs
Over seven decades ago, the world experienced one of the darkest periods in human history – confining individuals to concentration camps and terrorizing millions of families. To somberly commemorate these events, on behalf of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Warfare Centers, Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) hosted the virtual 2021 NAVSEA Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony April 8.
To honor the lives lost, the survivors, and the liberators, NSWC PCD streamed a virtual ceremony illustrating the events. During the ceremony, six individuals lit candles during the reading of a literary selection. The presentation concluded with an NSWC PCD employee, Bobby Hopp, reciting the Mourners Kaddish.
Capt. David Back, NSWC PCD commanding officer and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) officer, recited the words of Holocaust Survivor Estelle Laughlin.
“'It’s not enough to curse the darkness of the past. We have to illuminate the future,'” quoted Back. “'On Days of Remembrance the most important thing to remember is the humanity that is in all of us to leave the world better for our children and for posterity.'"
The Holocaust was the state-sponsored, systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jewish persons by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945. Jews were the primary victims—six million were murdered. Millions more also suffered grievous oppression and death under Nazi Germany.
In Hebrew, Holocaust Remembrance Day is known as Yom Ha’shoah. This year the day begins at sundown on April 7 and ends at nightfall on April 8. Through our Holocaust Remembrance or Yom Ha’shoah event, NSWC PCD along with the NAVSEA Enterprise, sought both to commemorate this tragic history and to reflect on the lessons it holds for our lives today.
Mary Kim, Acting Deputy Director, EEO, Diversity and Inclusion, said the event honored the lives lost, the survivors, and the liberators, while educating viewers about the Holocaust.
“EEO and Diversity and Inclusion principles embrace and welcome differences wholly. The Holocaust demonstrated the antithesis of these principles,” said Kim. “Today, it is still necessary that we make conscious efforts to educate, become aware, and prevent events like the Holocaust from happening.”
Dr. Peter Adair, NSWC PCD division technical director, said remembering the history of the Holocaust offers an opportunity to reflect on the moral responsibilities of individuals, societies, and governments.
“After all these years, one would imagine these events would no longer be a threat,” said Adair. “We bring this up and express the importance because it is not just part of history – similar events are still happening around the world today. We each have a responsibility to remember what has happened, why it happened, and never forget to ensure it does not happen again.“