As part of the closing ceremonies for the SHARE vigil, a 24-hour event hosted by the Students for Holocaust Awareness, Remembrance and Education, students read names of people who died during the Holocaust and heard from five Holocaust survivors.

The survivors attended the closing ceremonies Thursday night at University of Michigan Hillel to tell their stories, talk to students and share music they sang during the Holocaust. SHARE hosted this ceremony, following the reading of names out of a book in front of the Espresso Royale on South University Avenue, as one of its annual events.

The students who attended the event noted how valuable it is to hear survivors’ stories, which is the motivation for many of the events SHARE plans. For LSA sophomore Lilah Kalfus, member of the SHARE board, this sentiment rang especially true, as both of her grandparents were Holocaust survivors. 

“We’re one of the last generations to be able to talk to survivors, so we are just trying to provide as many opportunities to do that, like my kids won’t be able to talk to a Holocaust survivor,” Kalfus said.  

LSA sophomore Kyla Klein, a member of Hillel, echoed this sentiment, emphasizing how important these types of conversations are in the current political climate.

“My whole life I’ve been very interested in the Holocaust and just how it happened exactly,” Klein said. “I think it’s really cool to gain this type of perspective; especially with what’s happening in the world right now, it’s important to recognize systematic oppression and genocide and the Holocaust.”

LSA senior Eitan Katz, who was a board member of Michigan Hillel for two years, attended the event as a culmination of his participation in Hillel. Like Kalfus, all four of Katz’s grandparents were Holocaust survivors.

“For me, I have a regret that I didn’t get more involved in this group, because this type of thing and Holocaust remembrance is very important to me,” he said. “So this last event is a little of me still getting involved even though I didn’t take on a leadership position in this group.”

Similar to the other students who attended the event, Katz emphasized the importance of hearing stories from Holocaust survivors.

“Many of them are old and aren’t going to be here in a couple of years, so that’s really important to me, getting to know them, because stories are stories, but we if can actually put them to a face, it means so much more,” he said. 

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