Their words belied the sunny Monday weather.
“As we commemorate Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, we take time to remember,” the two students at the front of the line read. One of them was Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) Fraternity brother and sophomore Brian Schonfeld, who was in charge of organizing the Walk to Remember this year.
Yom Hashoah means “Day of the Holocaust” in Hebrew, and it’s also the date of AEPi’s annual Walk to Remember event.
“It’s an national walk that every chapter in AEPi puts on,” Schonfeld explained later. “Obviously Yom Hashoah is an annual event, not just here at UR, but […] around the world, and definitely across the States.”
About twenty-five students participated in the march, most of them members of AEPi or the co-sponsoring sororities, Phi Sigma Sigma and Kappa Alpha Theta. They circled the Eastman Quad at a stately pace before proceeding to the Hajim Quad, then circling back to the Eastman Quad again, starting and ending at the statue of George Eastman.
“We remember the six million Jews, including 1.5 million children, exterminated in the Holocaust. We remember that each of them had a name. Their tragic deaths ended their vibrant lives, that made them more than a number,” the leaders read.
They circled back to the ends of the lines, and the next pair took their places, listing other groups and their suffering.
“We shall never forget those who perished because we will promise to remember.”
The walk was unassuming—solemn, respectful, but without pomp or showiness. The small group of students simply recited the passages over and over as they traversed campus for half an hour, handing out flyers to those passers-by who would take one.
Schonfeld, who had read from Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel’s “Night” at the start of the walk, said the walk is intended to raise awareness as well as to memorialize.
“We must never forget what had happened back in those camps,” he said. “We don’t want this ever to happen again. It’s sort of unfathomable.”