Music, speeches, prayers and a candle-lighting ceremony that included 39 Jewish survivors were part of Michigan’s official commemoration of the Holocaust and the Armenian genocide.
The ceremony took place in the rotunda of the state Capitol.
Gov. Rick Snyder called attention to a law he signed last year that requires school to teach about genocide.
“We need to get this in our schools and spread the message about the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, and any form of genocide,” he said.
“We need to spread the word teach tolerance for all of us. Intolerance is a terrible thing in this world, and we shouldn’t stand for it.”
As a young girl, 69-year-old Esther Posner and members of her family hid during the German occupation of the Netherlands.
Posner says half her family perished in death camps, but that now seems like a different life.
“When I think back to what I went through, what we lived through, it’s like a different part of me,” she said. “… It’s incredible to see the vibrancy of the people who are here. I have three children. I have 11 grandchildren. I’m very proud of the life that I’ve led and the opportunities I’ve had in this country.”
Posner’s children are taking her back to Holland for her 80th birthday to retrace her steps, and remember the people who hid her from the Nazis.