Prayer Service for International Holocaust Remembrance

Noreen Dempsey, Saint Patrick School, Carlisle, Pennsylvania USA

Background preparation: Each child will be given a green leaf (paper) with the name of a child who died in the Holocaust. The children were from the Polish town of Blechatow. They were all younger than twelve and died at the Chelmno Death Camp in August of 1942.

On a table in front of the children will be a pot of soil. As the first poem is read, an adult will sprinkle ashes on the soil.

The Ashes of the Innocent

remember meThe ashes of the innocent
Came down upon the earth
Blessing the common soil
For the seeds of rebirth

Their sacrifice calls
To the conscience of man
Stand up to tyranny
Banish hatred from all lands

Their dreams were ended
It didn't make sense
Grabbed from their homes
Placed behind a fence

remember meThe wind carries the messages
From those long ago
A boy like you
A girl quite tall

Remember me, remember me
Though I was small
I ran in the fields
I walked my dog

I had a baby sister
I played leap frog
Remember me, remember me
Remember me, All.

Each of you has the name of a child who died in a death camp. Please come forward and read the name aloud. Then, place the leaf in the basket in front of the pot of soil.

Every child whose name is on those leaves was like you in many ways. They had families. They went to school. They had friends. They liked candy. But, the people in power then decided that they were different. And, because they were considered different they were killed.

Let us now pray for these children so they will know they have not been forgotten.

An English Translation

Glorified and sanctified be God's great name throughout the world which He has created according to His will. May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and during your days, and within the life of the entire House of Israel, speedily and soon; and say, Amen.

May His great name be blessed forever and to all eternity.

Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored, adored and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, beyond all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations that are ever spoken in the world; and say, Amen.

May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us
and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

He who creates peace in His celestial heights, may He create peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

What lesson can we learn? First, we must always remember that we all are children of God. Differences just make us who we are. It makes us special. The Greatest Commandment says that we should love our neighbor as ourselves. Our neighbor is not just the person who lives in the house beside us. It is every person in this world.