AUGUSTA — The Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine will host its annual Yom HaShoah: Holocaust Day of Remembrance program from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 19, at the Michael Klahr Center, University of Maine at Augusta, 46 University Drive.

The program will begin with a traditional ceremony of remembrance featuring clergy from Jewish and Christian faiths. Following the ceremony, a reading and discussion of the play Gilleleje 43 will begin.

Gilleleje 43 [pronounced Gila-LIE-uh] by Finn Abrahamowitz (Translated by Leo Goldberger) provides an imaginative insight into the universal plight of people experiencing persecution.

Gilleleje is a little fishing village, some 40 miles north of Copenhagen. As soon as word leaked out to the Jews of Denmark that they were in imminent danger of a roundup by the Gestapo, Gilleleje — along with other small fishing villages on the coast facing Sweden — became a natural gateway to freedom. When the roundup began during the Jewish New Year, October 1-2, 1943, most Danish Jews were already in hiding, awaiting arrangements for a fishing-boat to take them across Øresund, the sound connecting Denmark to Sweden.

Gilleleje succeeded in getting close to 1,300 Jews to safety by the end of October despite German patrols on land and at sea, and threats of punishment for those who helped the Jews to escape. On the night of October 6, about 80 Jews, who were hiding in the dark attic of Gilleleje Church, were betrayed. They were discovered, captured and deported. Only one person, a young German Jewish refugee, escaped arrest by hiding in the clock tower.

The play will be read by a cast of local professional and community actors, and the reading will last about 50 minutes. The reading is being coordinated and directed by HHRC program director David Greenham.

A discussion about the issues raised in the play will follow the reading.

The HHRC suggests a donation of $10 per person, which includes the ceremony, play reading and light refreshments. All are welcome and encouraged to join the HHRC on this special day of commemoration and reflection.

For more information on this year’s Yom HaShoah service or to learn about more programs hosted by the HHRC, visit: hhrcmaine.org; call 207-621-3530; or email: [email protected]


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