Historic Gathering of Liberators Highlights Days of Remembrance Ceremony in U.S. Capitol Rotunda

Apr 08, 2010, 11:00 ET from United States Holocaust Memorial Museum


WASHINGTON, April 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In what may be one of their final national gatherings, 120 World War II veterans who helped liberate the Nazi concentration camps will reunite to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the end of the war and pay tribute to the survivors as well as their wartime comrades.  The gathering will include those who entered the camps immediately as well as those who followed, all attempting to bring not only freedom, but aid and compassion to the survivors.  They include American soldiers from all backgrounds, including Japanese Americans whose families were interned in the U.S. and many others who saw the German camps first-hand.  In honor of the anniversary of liberation, the Museum has designated "Stories of Freedom: What You Do Matters" as this year's remembrance theme.

General David H. Petraeus will be the featured speaker at the National Days of Remembrance ceremony in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on April 15.  General Petraeus led the 101st Airborne Division in combat throughout the first year of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  During World War II, the 101st liberated Landsberg, a subcamp of Dachau, and will be represented at the ceremony.  The ceremony will be Webcast live at 11:30 a.m. EDT at www.ushmm.org.

From April 11 through April 18, the Museum is leading the nation's annual Days of Remembrance commemorating the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust as well as the millions of other victims of Nazi persecution.  The Rotunda event is the national ceremony, and hundreds of other observances take place in communities, state houses, city halls, churches, synagogues, and military installations worldwide.

"We are thrilled to be honoring the liberators and recognizing their heroism as well as their important role as the first eyewitnesses to the Holocaust," said Fred S. Zeidman, Chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  "As we pay tribute to those who sacrificed to defeat Nazism, we are reminded of the obligation each of us has to work to preserve human freedom by confronting hatred wherever it occurs."

In addition to the invitation-only Rotunda event, the Museum is holding public names reading ceremonies in honor of the victims of the Holocaust, daily from Sunday, April 11 to Wednesday, April 14 in the Museum's Hall of Remembrance from 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. EDT.  Persons interested in participating in the names reading are encouraged to come to the Museum during those hours or visit www.ushmm.org/dor to reserve a specific time slot.  More information about the Days of Remembrance and the 2010 theme is also available at the site.

A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders to promote human dignity, confront hatred, and prevent genocide.  Federal support guarantees the Museum's permanent place on the National Mall, and its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by generous supporters nationwide.  For more information, visit www.ushmm.org.

SOURCE United States Holocaust Memorial Museum