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Memories of Holocaust Echo at Remembrance Day Event

On the 60th anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, speakers urge an audience of 2,500 not to forget the loss of millions of lives.

May 05, 2003|Matt Lait | Times Staff Writer

Amid heightened security concerns, about 2,500 people attended a somber ceremony Sunday to honor and mourn the millions of men, women and children who lost their lives as a result of the Holocaust.

"It is only by teaching and learning from the lessons of the Holocaust that we can eliminate the hatred that threatens the values of freedom, equality and justice that we hold most dear," said Gov. Gray Davis, a speaker at the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day event.

"We have but one mission in mind," Davis said, "never forget."

It was a theme that was repeated throughout the two-hour ceremony at Pan Pacific Park near the six 18-foot-tall columns of polished black granite that make up the Los Angeles Holocaust Monument. The event was attended by a number of city, county and state politicians, including Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo.

Scores of Los Angeles police officers and private security guards patrolled the park grounds throughout the day because of security concerns, according to event organizers.

This year's ceremony also coincided with the 60th anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising in which a relatively small band of Jewish resistance fighters battled German soldiers for nearly a month before being overtaken.

"This is very emotional for me," said Paul Mandel, 77, a Holocaust survivor who was interned at the Dachau concentration camp. "I lost my whole family back then.... We must be vigilant that it never happens again to any people."

"There are so many idiots who want to deny that the Holocaust ever happened," said Inge Johnson, 73, of Long Beach, who fled Germany with her family in 1938.

As Hahn spoke at a nearby podium, Johnson gazed at the audience: "I wish there were more younger people here. They need to know what happened," she said.

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