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A call for young people to remember genocides, take action

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 13, 2010 - Learning about genocides through studying the Holocaust is a rite of passage for Jewish teenagers. But what comes after they graduate from religious school?

An event sponsored in part by the Young Professionals Division of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis aims to continue that education. “Anti-Genocide Activism” is a program that looks at genocides past and present and offers ways to take action to help prevent and stop the tragedies. The event begins Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Missouri History Museum.

The Holocaust Museum and Learning Center and the Anti-Defamation League are the other sponsors of the event, which features Mark Hanis, the founder and president of the Genocide Intervention Network and the grandchild of four Holocaust survivors. “Anti-Genocide Activism” is part of a series of events aimed at a young audience.

The program comes less than a week after the celebration of Holocaust Remembrance Day at Brith Sholom Kneseth Israel Synagogue. The Yom HaShoah event attracted nearly 1,000 people, according to Meg Crane, a senior writer with the Jewish Federation of St. Louis.

That event also included a reading of the names of Holocaust victims and a procession of Torah scrolls rescued from the Holocaust. St. Louis Holocaust survivors, as well as children and grandchildren of survivors, also shared their stories, some of which were drawn from the Holocaust Museum’s “Oral History Project.”

The Holocaust Museum is celebrating its 15 anniversary with a gala starting at 5:30 p.m. May 16 at the Frontenac Hilton. The event, “History’s Lessons … Tomorrow’s Hope,” honors the museum and St. Louis’ Holocaust survivors.

Webster University and the museum are also set to announce an interactive exhibition that will focus on contemporary genocide and issues related to other acts of social injustice.

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