Holocaust remembrance service in Paducah honors victims and heroes

PADUCAH — Temple Israel Synagogue and the Abrahamic Interfaith Council of Paducah hosted a Holocaust Remembrance Service Thursday evening — to not only honor the victims of the genocide, but also the people who saved lives.

During the service, three religious leaders — Minister Lora Jean Gowan of Broadway Methodist Church, Imam Hassan Ali of Paducah Mosque, and Deacon Terry Larbes of St. Thomas More Church — read the stories of righteous gentiles who helped save lives during the Holocaust. Three of the gentiles were Americans — one soldier and two Unitarian ministers. The fourth gentile was from Poland.

The Nazi regime killed 6 million Jewish people during the Holocaust. Dr. Laurie Ballew, congregation president of Temple Israel, said it was “an organized attempt to annihilate the Jewish race.”

In addition to remembering the victims, Ballew said honoring the heroes who saved lives is important.

“Remembering the good deeds shows that individuals can stand up in the face of evil, that they didn’t shrug their shoulders and say ‘It’s not my problem,’ that they said ‘This is a human problem, and we’re going to do what we can to help,'” said Ballew.

Although the Holocaust ended more than 70 years ago, Ballew said it’s still vital to remember it today.

“The (shootings at) Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, the Chabad synagogue in Poway, California — so antisemitism is there. Hate is there. And it’s just important to show that we as a community will stand up in the face of evil,” said Ballew.

This is the second year in which Temple Israel and the Abrahamic Interfaith Council hosted this remembrance service.

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