On Tuesday night January 25th, the residents of New Castle gathered via zoom for the Second Annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration. The event, which featured the screening of the HBO 18-minute documentary The Number on Great-Grandpa’s Arm, was co-sponsored by the Horace Greeley student club ENOUGH (Educate Now On Understanding Genocide and Hate) and the Town of New Castle Holocaust and Human Rights Committee.
The ENOUGH club’s name was chosen in part because the students had ENOUGH of the growing hatred in our country and felt that proactive education is the way to combat hate. County Executive George Latimer opened the evening with moving remarks stating, “This is an important oral history. It’s a journey through the past, but it has relevance to the present and the future.” Following the film screening, Congressman Mondaire Jones moderated a conversation with Amy Schatz, Director & Producer of the film, Jeff Scher, Animator who won an Emmy for his work on the film, and Elliott Saiontz, a Sophomore at Horace Greeley High School and Vice President of ENOUGH who was featured in the film. Congressman Jones, who represents the NYS 17th District and is the first openly gay Black member of Congress, shared important remarks with the community. Jones recognized, “On Thursday we commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day and we honor the millions of lives lost including six million Jews and the horrific tragedy that was the Holocaust…the millions who perished at the hands of anti-Semitism and baseless hate.”
The HBO documentary film was created as a way to educate about the Holocaust. While created as a film to educate the younger ages, it has been used to educate audiences from age nine through adults. Elliott has shared the film in person and virtually with classrooms across the country and across the world. Since its premiere in 2018, the film has been used in over 500 classrooms across the world. During the conversation, Elliott explained the importance of this film. He stated, “I think it is really important to use the film because it is a very good introductory piece that is heartfelt and meaningful, but allows you to take away the basic lessons of the Holocaust as a young child without feeling the harsh impacts and realities yet, accepting that the Holocaust did happen. After viewing the film, children and adults will understand that these things can happen in our world but each individual can take steps to stand up against hate."
Tuesday night’s program was viewed by over 200 community members who tuned in to watch this special and important program. In the wake of the events in Colleyville, Texas, the Town of New Castle Holocaust & Human Rights Committee and the students of ENOUGH are sadly reminded that hate continues to grow. Both the Town Committee and ENOUGH hope that bringing the film to the community will educate students and residents about where hate can lead, to recognize hate, stand up to it and prevent it. Jack Rosenberg, Co-President of ENOUGH stated, “This event helps our Club fulfill its mission to educate our community to recognize the dangers of hate and create a more accepting community.” These two organizations believe that by creating awareness today they will be able to create a more accepting and loving tomorrow.
New Castle Town Supervisor Lisa Katz ended the program stating, “More than seven decades after the end of the Holocaust, not only are memories of the Holocaust fading, but anti-Semitism and hatred against the Jewish people are on the rise. On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we must call out anti-Semitism and bigotry in all its forms, make sure to educate our children, and vow never to forget.”
Watch the 18 minute HBO Documentary “The Number on Great Grandpa’s Arm” - https://www.hbo.com/documentaries/the-number-on-great-grandpas-arm
The 2022 International Holocaust Remembrance Day Program is available here: https://youtu.be/fVcIWQ8dRHQ