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The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Crime log: Subject barred after shoplifting at bookstore
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • February 26, 2024

GW chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi hosts a silent walk around campus to honor Yom HaShoah

About+30+people%2C+including+Alpha+Epsilon+Pi%E2%80%99s+leaders+and+other+Jewish+community+members+gathered+in+Kogan+Plaza+Tuesday+evening+for+a+silent+march+across+campus.
Sage Russell | Staff Photographer
About 30 people, including Alpha Epsilon Pi’s leaders and other Jewish community members gathered in Kogan Plaza Tuesday evening for a silent march across campus.

A Jewish fraternity led a silent walk through campus Tuesday to honor the lives lost during the Holocaust for the international Jewish holiday Yom HaShoah.

About 30 people, including Alpha Epsilon Pi’s leaders, members and other Jewish community members gathered in Kogan Plaza at 6 p.m. for a silent march together across campus, reflecting on family members affected by the tragedies of the Holocaust and growing antisemitism in the United States today. AEPi leaders said the walk honors Yom HaShoah, an international Jewish holiday that falls a week after the seventh day after Passover and memorializes more than six million Jewish lives lost at the hands of the Nazi party during World War II.

Participants wore stickers that read “Never Forget” and handed out yellow flyers to passersby that read “We Walk to Remember and Unto Every Person There is a Name,” which explain the purpose of the walk is to never forget the millions murdered because of their Jewish faith during the Holocaust. Yom HaShoah, which the Jewish community recognizes from sundown April 17 to April 18 this year, marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising – the largest Jewish-led revolt against the Nazi party during the war – and serves to remember more than 7,000 lives lost during the rebellion.

The “Walk to Remember” marks one of AEPi’s first campus-wide events after their return to campus this month following their disbandment in 2014. The chapter said they plan to restore their values of Jewish brotherhood upon their return to campus in April through hosting Jewish heritage events like the Holocaust remembrance walk.

Freshman Aidan Cullers, the president of AEPi, said he hoped to raise awareness about Yom HaShoah on campus through the walk because of data that shows Gen Z lacks knowledge about the Holocaust. He said taking time for silent reflection honors and “celebrates” those who died in the Holocaust and to educate those who may not be aware of the genocide.

“Each of those six million people is a person with a name and a face and a family and a background and a home that they had taken away from them because of a genocidal regime, a hateful regime,” Cullers said during a speech preceding the walk. “Today we remember them.”

Cullers said AEPi plans to hold his event in the coming years to highlight Yom HaShoah each year.

“The silence is the many millions of voices that aren’t coming to speak now because their lives were killed,” Cullers said. “They were murdered.”

Dylan Lyman, the AEPi co-chair of the chapter’s Jewish Identity committee – a role that international chapter leaders introduced to increase Jewish programming locally for each chapter – said having events like the walk serves to combat antisemitism through public demonstrations of solidarity and remembrance amid a recent rise in antisemitic incidents in the United States including synagogue shootings, assaults against Jewish individuals who observe the Sabbath and “hateful messages” written on highways and buildings.

“We will never allow the Jewish people to just be victims, we realized that we must always fight back,” Lyman said.

Jewish students who joined AEPi for the walk said the demonstration gave them the opportunity to reflect on the experiences of their family members who experienced the Holocaust.

Arielle Geismar, the president of the Residence Hall Association and the incoming Student Association president, said having the opportunity to “commemorate” and “remember” lives lost during the Holocaust is “important” to her because her grandmother is a survivor of the Holocaust. She said silence carries a lot of meaning on a “busy” campus like GW.

“For me, events remembering the Holocaust are about shared social justice values, about what it means to speak up about injustice and those are values that I carry with me,” Geismar said.

Shayna Davis, a sophomore majoring in public health, said she is “grateful” AEPi organized the walk to give her the opportunity to reflect on the experiences of her great grandparents who lived through the horrors of the Holocaust. She said, during the walk, she saw a passerby laughing at the group as they walked by and decided to approach them to give them the yellow flyer to educate them about Yom HaShoah and its significance for the Jewish community.

“I go, ‘This is a really important thing you should learn, this is Yom HaShoah, it’s a really important topic among the Jewish group, and beyond just being Jewish, I think such an important thing to realize is that Remembrance Day is a really big deal,’” Davis said.

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About the Contributor
Fiona Bork, Assistant News Editor
Fiona Bork is a sophomore majoring in journalism and mass communication from San Diego, California. She is The Hatchet's 2023-2024 assistant news editor for the Student Life beat.
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