This year’s observance, called for and hosted by Concord’s Board of Selectmen, will be held at Town Hall, 22 Monument Sq., on Sunday, April 22 @ 7pm. The guest speakers will be Leon Rubinstein, Holocaust survivor and his son, Wade, a Concord resident and owner of Reasons to be Cheerful located here in Concord. In addition, Rosalie Gerut will be performing musical selections for the observance. All are welcome and encouraged to attend this moving event; admission is free.

Concord’s Annual Holocaust Memorial Observance

Concord will witness its 32nd Holocaust Memorial Observance event this Sunday, April 22, at 7pm at the Town Hall. To help us in this remembrance, it is with great honor that we welcome this year’s guest speakers, Leon Rubinstein, Holocaust survivor, and his son Wade, a Concord resident and owner of Reasons to be Cheerful, located here in Concord. As Holocaust survivors become scarcer, it is a privilege to hear first-hand the stories that remind us never to forget. This event, organized by the Concord-Carlisle Human Rights Organization and sponsored by Concord’s Board of Selectmen is an effort to keep on our minds and in our hearts the atrocities and injustices committed in the past against millions – thereby, (hopefully) lessening such occurrences in the present and the future. In fact, events like those in Kosovo, Rwanda, and Darfur (to name a few), remind us that we must be ever vigilant and alert to the possibilities of man’s inhumanity to man, not only across oceans and land boundaries, but also right here in our own backyard.

Leon Rubinstein was born in Koretz, Poland in 1930. His life would take a dramatic turn as the Nazi regime came to power. Losing his family, his home, and any sense of security as a young boy, he would spend years hiding and running for his life before coming to the United States in the early 1950s. A prolific inventor, Leon has also known success as a mechanical engineer and small-business owner. With the help of his son, Wade, and writer Emily Rubin, he has documented his extraordinary experiences in his memoir, As I Am Presently Known. Wade Rubinstein lives in Concord with his wife, Jill, and children, Max and Ellie. Leon’s memoir had its inception in recorded interviews shared between father and son in an effort to remember, to inform, and to connect the family’s past and present establishing a legacy for the future. The Rubinsteins will read from the memoir at the memorial observance as they come to reflect and share their lives with us.

The Rubinsteins’ story is one of millions that could be told as we prepare for reflection during the town’s official “Week of Remembrance” for victims of the Holocaust (April 15th-April 22nd). In another time, place, or circumstance it could be your story or my story. When Britain established a national day of remembrance Justice Secretary, Jack Straw stated, “Holocaust Memorial Day is intended as an inclusive commemoration of all the individuals and communities who suffered as a result of the Holocaust – not only Jews, but also Gypsies, Slavs, homosexuals, political prisoners, Quakers, Catholics and dozens of ethnic and other minorities.” What was a tragedy for these groups of people and their descendants is also a tragedy for us because we are bound together. We must learn and remember the lessons from the past as we hold to the CCHRC’s belief that “all people are entitled to dignity and respect” and, dare we say, life. This event is free and open to the public. All are welcome to join us.