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.
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.
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.