Holocaust memorial service comes as anti-Semitism is on the rise

ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) — On Sunday, Atlanteans took time to remember a difficult time when the Nazis began killing Jews in what would become the greatest genocide in history.

Even though the Holocaust took place more than 80 years ago, persecution and hatred towards Jews persists and has even increased in some places.

“I think it’s really important for everyone to know that when hate goes wrong, what can happen. You can’t say, ‘It’s okay, it’s okay.’ It’s not right, and we have to learn to resist the hate. We have to learn not to be bystanders,” said Karen Lanksy Edlin, president of Eternal Life-Hemshech.

Atlanteans gathered at Greenwood Cemetery for Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. Survivors, their families and Senator Jon Ossoff reflected on the violence against Jews by the Nazis.

“My father was Jewish. Not only was he so bad during the war, he was also very important in the underground,” said Holocaust survivor Bebe Forehand. “We hid in another neighborhood of my hometown, Antwerp, Belgium, for three and a half years,”

“As this generation leaves us, this work of memory becomes ever more vital,” said Senator Ossoff.

A task that is all the more important as acts of anti-Semitic violence multiply. Incidents hit an all-time high in the United States last year, with more than 2,700 incidents of assault, harassment and vandalism reported to the Anti-Defamation League. Incidents have increased by 115% in the state of Georgia.

“Why does this continue? Edline said.

That’s what Edlin, whose parents survived the Holocaust, wants to know.

Holocaust survivor Bebe Forehand has an answer and a solution.

“People are people. Those who were ugly then are ugly now. Not the new generation. I have so much hope for our new generation,” Forehand said.

And that positivity is despite the evil forehand she saw against her own family during World War II.

“Nobody came back. Not a single person,” Forehand said.

Senator Ossoff also lost many family members to the Nazis and made a wish during his speech at the ceremony.

“Humanity has decided never to let these events repeat themselves again,” said Senator Ossoff.

But how do you prevent history from repeating itself?

“Educate, educate, educate. We have to keep telling the stories of what happened here,” Edlin said.

And seeing people like Forehand does.

“I believe that people are fundamentally good. Yes, we get bad apples, we throw them away, but we have to keep hope alive,” Forehand said.

This is the 57th year that the Atlanteans have had a community memorial for the victims of the Holocaust. The past two years have not been able to be in person due to the pandemic.

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