Tripler Army Medical Center honors victims, rescues of Holocaust

| April 30, 2012 | 0 Comments

Stephanie Bryant
Tripler Army Medical Center Public Affairs



HONOLULU — Staff from Tripler Army Medical Center gathered in Kyser Auditorium, here, to reflect on the events of the Holocaust, April 19.

The Holocaust Day of Observance is honored nationwide and is a time for people to reflect and remember the six million people who lost their lives. The 2012 theme is “Choosing to Act: Stories of Rescue.”

“Unto Every Person there is a Name,” a poem by Zelda Mishkovsky, an Israeli poet, was used for the ceremony. Holocaust Remembrance Day organizers have used the poem for decades in ceremonies of remembrance. Names of Holocaust victims and where and when they were born and died are read aloud during the ceremonies.

When organizing the event, Pacific Regional Medical Command’s Equal Opportunity office included the name reading in conjunction with a traditional candle lighting ceremony. Six candles were lit, each one symbolizing one million souls that were destroyed during the Holocaust.

Dr. Alan Rosenfeld, an associate professor of history, University of Hawaii at West Oahu, and guest speaker for the event, spoke about the rescues of Jews in Denmark during World War II and compared hospitals in Germany to Tripler.

One anecdote Rosenfeld told was how many Jews were intentionally sent to hospitals as they were snuck out of Denmark and admitted using false, pure Danish names.

“Nurses gave up their hospital dorm rooms to strangers in need,” Rosenfeld explained. “They slept in the kitchen or stayed up all night as the Nazi (secret police) surrounded the hospital. The next morning the patients were snuck out past the (police) in a bogus funeral procession.

“Let us keep in mind this beam of light in a sea of darkness as we honor the millions of holocaust victims whose lives were cut short.”

“Tripler Army Medical Center played a critical role in (World War II), as the men and woman of Tripler went above and beyond the call of duty to save lives of American Soldiers and civilians on the morning of December 7, 1941,” Rosenfeld said. “Unfortunately, under Nazi leadership hospitals were transformed from houses of rescue to houses of slaughter in the name of racial science.”

Rosenfeld described the T4 Program and how Nazi’s made life and death decisions for individuals based on racial value and, what they called, hereditary defects.

“Two-hundred thousand human beings, including countless children, were disposed of through this program without their consent or without the consent or knowledge of their families,” Rosenfeld said.

The day of remembrance means a great deal to people of Jewish heritage. Rosenfeld is one of them.

“As a Jew I feel responsible; responsible to be a student of the Holocaust to learn from the mistakes of our past and share knowledge of this catastrophic occurrence of barbarism,” he explained. “As an American I feel appreciative; appreciative that this country opened its doors and welcomed my ancestors. As a father, I feel determined; determined to do my share to ensure that this heinous chapter of our history never repeats itself.”

Brig. Gen. Keith Gallagher, commander, Pacific Regional Medical Command and TAMC, reinforced to his staff the need to embrace each other’s differences and the diversity of the Army.

“We have got to learn about one another and respect each other’s diversity,” Gallagher said. “We have to treat each other with dignity and respect.”

Days of Remembrance

For more information about the Holocaust and Days of Remembrance, visit


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Category: News, Observances

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