Holocaust survivor Tomi Reichental urged people to stand up when they see wrongdoing.
“Don’t become a bystander,” Reichental told more than 100 people gathered at Stonehill College recently. “If they see bullying – and they see it is done because the victim is of different skin color or religion, don’t become a bystander. Say something because when it was happening to the Jews nobody said it was wrong, and then we had the tragedy that we had.”
Reichental and director Gerry Gregg were at Stonehill College to discuss their latest documentary “Condemned to Remember,” a film that draws a parallel between the Holocaust and recent mass murders worldwide. The event was part of the James J. Kenneally lecture series at the college’s Martin Institute and was held on Thursday, Oct. 11. College Provost Joseph Favazza served as moderator and Kathleen Currul-Dykeman introduced speakers.
The film is the third documentary Gregg and Reichental made together and the pair discussed why it was so important to make.
“History propels us in this film,” said Gregg.
While they were in Europe closing their second, the influx of refugees coming to the continent was massive, said Reichental.
“It reminds me of what was happening in early 1939 when the Jews were trying to escape the Nazis and unfortunately no one wanted them,” said Reichental.
Reichental said that the parallels between today’s issues, specifically with Syrian refugees, worries him because it is very similar to his own experiences during the Holocaust.
“This is history repeating itself, we should really touch on this issue, and that’s how you become condemned to remember,” he said.
“I’m doing it by talking in schools to young people of course,” said Reichental.
However, simply talking about it is not enough, he said.
“Jewish people should carry the memory, especially since we survivors will pass away and someone will have to carry the burden, and make sure the Holocaust is not forgotten,” said Reichental.
Reichental said events commemorating what happened will keep memories alive, and that it is essential the stories continue to be retold because “after we are gone, there are those that will say it never happened.”
Gregg said everyone must make sure the stories live on.
“I believe it is not the responsibility of Jews alone, but of all of us,” Gregg said.