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Days of remembrance: Time to reflect on the Holocaust

Sunday - 4/15/2012, 11:00am  ET

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - The Holocaust is one of the darkest eras in history. It took millions of lives and changed the way society looks at mankind.

This year, Holocaust Remembrance Day falls on Thursday, April 19 with the National Days of Remembrance running April 15-22. This year's theme is "Choosing to Act: Stories of Rescue."

The U.S. Holocaust Museum will stream a live webcast of the National Days of Remembrance commemoration held in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda at 11 a.m., April 19.

Dor L'Dor in Hebrew means from Generation to Generation. That's the main purpose of Holocaust Remembrance Day, teaching new generations about the horrid mistakes of the past like the Nazis organized annihilation of religious and ethnic minorities between 1933 and 1945.

The exact number of victims may never be known, but estimates place the figure between 11 and 17 million people, not including those who died from combat or military campaigns.

Debra Linnick, director of the Jewish Community Relations Council for D.C. and Northern Virginia says their efforts are aimed mostly at children and young adults.

"We have over a dozen survivors in Virginia, and a similar number in Maryland that are committed to sharing their stories with teens and college students in small groups," she says.

One of those survivors is Michel Margosis of Fairfax County who escaped from the Nazis in Belgium in 1940 at age 14.

"The Holocaust was so unique but yet we have genocide going on all over," he says. "So this is just one story to connect to the others and show how bad it can be."

Students will not only hear about the World War II-era Holocaust but also about recent episodes of genocide in both Africa and the Balkans.

Linnick says that's equally important.

"In our own communities around the world, where we see injustice, we need to stand up against that," she says.

Locally, events will be held Sunday, April 22 at the Ohr Kodesh Congregation in Chevy Chase, Md between 4 - 6 p.m. and at the Gesher Jewish Day School in Fairfax, Vaa between 2 - 5:30 p.m.

The Holocaust Museum holds a names reading ceremony every year during the Days of Remembrance. For times and dates, follow this link.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)