BLOOMINGTON -- For Jesus House youth minister Andrew Held, Sunday’s March of Remembrance for holocaust victims and survivors was personal.
“My family is Jewish, and my grandmother is 94, but my great-grandfather married her off to save her from the Nazis,” he said. “He was an American and so he brought her to live here, but it wasn’t easy.”
About 50 people participated in the walk, which started at the Jesus House and finished at the McLean County Museum of History, where Held, his wife, Kat, and Jesus House founder and director Bonnie Lentz spoke about the holocaust.
“So, I am doing this to honor her and for all of those people that suffered for so many years,” he said.
Sunday was the annual Day of Remembrance and several synagogues and congregations marked the day with events and prayer. It was the first time the Jesus House had participated in the annual day.
“We are all one people created in the image of the almighty God. We are all descendents of Abraham,” Lentz said. “Humans should never have to endure such evil and we have to continue to speak up in support of those who suffered and to make sure something like that never happens again.”
“It’s important we speak out so that things won’t be forgotten,” said Cameron Siron of Danvers. “I remember what people said right after World War II. They said that they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then, they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Catholic, and then they came for me, and there was nobody left to speak up for me.”
“In the spirit of the Lord, they are our people, too,” said Siron’s wife, Sandra. “It’s our family, too. We have to speak up and make people aware of what it was like.”
Jesus House Pastor Tom Lentz said the walk was to raise awareness about the dangers of keeping silent.
“This is the beginning of a stand that no longer will we be silent, and no longer will we stand and watch while any human being is suffering,” he said. “We stand with Israel and for Israel.”