Israel Arbeiter is a Holocaust survivor whose entire family was murdered in the Nazi gas chambers of the Treblinka concentration camp. He said when he heard of the memorial being vandalized for a second time this summer, "It hurt me just as if I had lost a member of my family."

Credit: Mark Herz/WGBH News

Interfaith Unity At Gathering After Holocaust Memorial Vandalism

August 16, 2017

Interfaith religious leaders, Holocaust survivors and children of survivors gathered at the New England Holocaust Memorial, just a day after it was struck by vandalism for the second time this summer.

Israel Arbeiter is a Holocaust survivor; he says he thinks of his family, who were murdered by the Nazis, every day. And he said sadness about vandals damaging the memorial will stay with him forever too.

"The pain that we, the Holocaust survivors, are feeling and suffering because of the damage to our memorial will never go away," Arbeiter said.

Speakers at the gathering, like Reverend Liz Walker of Roxbury Presbyterian Church, focused on unity. Walker said she was inviting everyone to "show up in love," because, she said, "The language that it is 'us against them' is wrong — I have been all over the world, and I assure you, there is only us."

Shayk Yasir Fahmy of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center says the memorial's desecration is a call to action against hatred.

"We have to confront — with beauty, with Love, with justice, with mercy — this toxic ideology,” Fahmy said.

Restoration and a re-dedication of the Holocaust memorial is expected in the coming weeks.

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