Yom Ha’Shoah event honors Holocaust victims


Kayla Masterman

An attendee sits and listens to the reciting of names.

Mia Seligman and Kayla Masterman

On Tuesday, The Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies hosted an event for the Jewish Holiday of Yom Ha’Shoah, the day of remembrance for those who died in the Holocaust. 

The event took place from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and was located outside Plemmons Student Union. The event consisted of volunteers reciting the names of those killed during the Holocaust, as well as their ages, places of birth and the locations of their death. 

Volunteers take turn reading Holocaust victim names during the seven hour Yom HaShoah remembrance. March 18, 2023. (Ashton Woodruff)

Volunteers and faculty of The Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies created flyers displaying names and records of those who had died, with a poem provided by the World Holocaust Remembrance Center on the back.

Amy Hudnall, interim director for The Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies, shares that Yom Ha’Shoah has been recognized on App State’s campus for 20 years and continues to grow.   

So many people were so excited about participating this year. We filled up in a day,” Hudnall said. 

Volunteer readers read names for about 15 minutes each, bringing the total of names read throughout the entire event to about 1,900 names. 

“It’s a reminder of the importance of understanding the Holocaust but I also think it’s a reminder of the pain, strife and loss that exists every day in the world and that we have to pay attention,” Hudnall said.


Jaxon Bergs, an attendee at the event emphasized the importance of taking the time to acknowledge the event. 

“​​If there’s one thing that every single one of us can do, it is to take a moment and reflect,” Bergs said.

Junior nursing major Margaret-Ann Littauer expressed her emotions surrounding attending the event.

“It’s super special that we have this event to remember the lives lost, especially as somebody who isn’t a part of the Jewish community, but actually hearing the names of the lives that were lost brings tears to my eyes,” Littauer said. 

Hudnall said she hopes celebrating Yom Ha’Shoah on App State’s campus raises awareness.

Flyers handed out during Yom HaShoah highlight personal information of individuals that lost their lives because of the Holocaust. March 18, 2023. (Ashton Woodruff)

“I think it’s super special that we have this event to honor and recognize those lives, especially because this did impact the Jewish community in a very major way,” Littauer said. 

Echoing Littauer’s sentiments, Appalachian Studies and Watauga Residential College professor Cary Curlee shared support for the event. 

“I found out it was happening, and I just wanted to show support,” Curlee said. “Especially now, with people denying the Holocaust.”

Curlee read from 11-11:15 a.m., and expressed additional gratitude for the opportunity to read.

“This is a good thing that we honor these folks, and I want to be a part of it,” Curlee said.

Rowan Tackitt, administrative assistant for the Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies, said the reading of names helps make the Holocaust more real for people.

“I think when people learn about the Holocaust, it’s very sanitized and they’ve heard it over and over again and they don’t care,” Tackitt said. “By hearing the names spoken, or speaking the names if you’re reading, it makes it more real and emotional.”

The Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace studies aims to continue education for the community, with a picnic being held May 4 with both App State Police and the community. The event aims to help build trust, as well as discuss methods of reporting to App State Police.