Holocaust memorial service on Sept. 16

By: Arieh Ullmann

Area rabbis will lead a memorial service on Sunday, September 16, at 12:30 pm, at the Holocaust Memorial Monument in the Temple Israel Cemetery on Conklin Avenue in Conklin.
The memorial stone, which was originally dedicated on Sunday, November 9, 1952, is one of the earliest acknowledgments in the United States of the Holocaust. It is also one of the few memorial stones of its kind in the United States to contain the names of loved ones lost to Nazism.
The service will continue a tradition of holding a ceremony at the memorial on the Sunday between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. After the memorial’s original dedication, the tradition lasted for about 20 years; it then resumed three years ago, following a long hiatus. It was the spontaneous reaction to Professor Rhonda Levine’s talk about the Get Together Club at the Federation’s Super Sunday. The club was a social and philanthropic group formed in 1948 by 13 German speaking Jewish women – mainly rural women and wives of cattle dealers – who had resettled in the Southern Tier after fleeing Nazism.
The placement of a memorial stone was considered to be the “most ambitious” project of the Get Together Club. The project came about in response to a comment of a member’s husband who bemoaned the fact that his parents, who perished in the Holocaust, had no grave and thus he had no place to say Kaddish. More than 250 names were inscribed and placed in a copper box that was buried at the foot of the monument. It listed the names of individuals who had perished without a marked grave. They were remembered by prayers recited at the unveiling of the monument by the rabbis, followed by one of the survivors reading the names written on the scrolls. A digital copy of the original list of names buried in the copper box at the foot of the monument is available online on the Jewish Federation’s website, www.jfgb.org/jfed743/.
Community members and Binghamton 3G students (third generation descendants of Holocaust survivors) have been invited to submit names of loved ones who died during the Holocaust and who have no grave marker to be added to the list. Instructions are given on the Federation’s website.
Arieh Ullmann is chairman of the Federation Community Relations Committee.