In honor of the 75th International Holocaust Day of Remembrance, Nazareth College, in concert with the Louis J. Wolk Jewish Community Center, hosted a commemorative event featuring poetry, excerpts of a locally-produced play, and a panel discussion with Holocaust survivor Warren Heilbronner and others.
Excerpts were from the play, "Survivors" which is based on testimonies from 10 Rochester-based Holocaust survivors.
Ralph Meranto, artistic director of the Louis J. Wolk Jewish Community Center, said that it's the story of what happens when hate becomes normalized.
"The Holocaust is really just the primary example of what happens when hate is allowed to continue when bystanders don't speak up," he said.
Scott Adams plays two of the survivors in the play, both in their early teens. Adams says that he was struck by the resolve and determination by both boys to not be victimized by their circumstances, while still holding onto their innocence.
"This is a hopeful story," he said. "I'm not spoiling it by saying this is about ten people who survived the war," he said.
Meranto says that the piece, while based on history, is also timely.
"We always have the mantra of 'never again, never is now,' " he said. " 'Never again' is let's not repeat the Holocaust, but 'never is now' is to show that these things are still happening in our world."
He says that he sees correlations between the play's subject matter, and unfolding current events.
"It’s about the refugee crisis, it's about what's happening on our borders," he said. "So many Jews in Nazi Germany would have been able to escape if countries had allowed them in."