Events

April 25, 2014

Nellis hosts Holocaust Remembrance Week

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Senior Airman Christopher Tam
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

DACHAU, Germany — Two ovens in the first crematorium at Dachau the first Nazi concentration camp, which opened in 1933 outside Munich, Germany, were used to cremate the bodies of dead prisoners. People initially detained in the camp included Jews, artists, intellectuals, the physically and mentally handicapped and homosexuals. Prisoners died from malnutrition, disease and overwork or were executed. When World War II began, some able-bodied prisoners were used as slave labor and others were used for medical experiments.

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Holocaust Remembrance Week is scheduled to be commemorated here April 28 to May 4. The base will be hosting various events open to Department of Defense card holders during the week.

Throughout the week, there will be an opening documentary “Inglorious Bastards” at the base theater, followed by an educational event at the base theater and luncheon at the Desert Oasis.

The Holocaust was the mass murder or genocide of approximately 6 million Jews during World War II, led by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party, throughout the German Reich and German occupied territories.

According to the U.S. National Holocaust Memorial Museum, the U.S. Congress established the days of remembrance as the nation’s annual commemoration of the Holocaust and created the museum as a permanent living memorial to the victims.

The museum has designated Confronting the Holocaust: American Response as the theme for the 2014 observance.

“I think it is extremely important to reflect on these events, and take the rare opportunity to talk to the survivors in order to remember, appreciate and learn from them,” said 1st Lt. Evgenia Peduzzi, 547th Intelligence Squadron chief of U.S. Pacific Command threat analysis and this year’s Holocaust remembrance committee project officer. “The ultimate purpose of remembering this history is an education opportunity, teaching about the pains of discrimination and hate crimes with the goal of prevention against such actions in the future.”

AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU, Poland — Barracks at Auschwitz, also known as Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration and death camp and was located in Poland. The camp opened in 1940, and initially served as a detention center for political prisoners. Over time, the camp evolved into a network of camps where Jews and other people believed to be enemies of the Nazi regime were killed in gas chambers or used as slave labor. Some of the prisoners were also used for medical experiments by Dr. Josef Mengele. Auschwitz I, the original camp, housed between 15,000 and 20,000 people. Auschwitz II housed approximately 90,000 people. This camp is where the gas chambers and crematory ovens were located. A third camp, Auschwitz III, house about 10,000 people and was the largest of about 40 labor camps. It is believed more than 1 million people were killed or died in Auschwitz.

Peduzzi and other committee members expressed their feelings on being part of the Holocaust Remembrance Week.

“I, along with the rest of the committee members, joined this group because we felt passionately about the struggles of the Jewish community during World War II,” Peduzzi said. “Most committee members had at one point visited a concentration camp or the Holocaust Museum and seeing these sites had a great impact on all, making the events more tangible. We were hoping to bring the same opportunity to the Airmen on base by inviting Holocaust survivors and speaking with them directly.”

“I will emphasize the importance of preserving freedom, family values and thank the fallen heroes who gave their life for our country,” Ben Nasser, a Holocaust survivor said. “Airmen should know there are people who think of them as a very important part of National Defense to maintain peace and freedom shoulder to shoulder, with the armed forces. As a Holocaust survivor, I’m grateful for them, as long as I live.”

Nasser was brought to Canada by the Canadian Jewish Congress in 1948. In 1958, he immigrated to the U.S. Ever since the Holocaust, Nasser has kept a promise to a family member.

“I promised my dying brother that I will share with the public, the diary I wrote in the camp under the nose of the Nazis, and inform the people the importance of preserving freedom and family values,” Nasser said. “I kept my promise up and I’ve lectured nationally and internationally [on] over 890 occasions to an estimated audience of over 160,000 people.”

Nasser, will share his amazing story as the guest speaker during the Holocaust remembrance luncheon at the Desert Oasis.

For more information regarding the Holocaust Remembrance Week events, contact 1st Lt. Evgenia Peduzzi at (702) 652-6073 and to RSVP for the luncheon go to https://einvitations.afit.edu/inv/anim.cfm?i=188554&k=03694A0C7E53.




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