WACO (April 7, 2013)--On Monday, millions of Americans will observe Holocaust Remembrance Day. But because Jewish days begin at sundown, many Jewish Americans already began observing Holocaust Remembrance day Sunday evening.
The United States Congress established Holocaust Remembrance Day as our nation's annual commemoration of the Holocaust.
For Rabbi Gordon Fuller, spiritual leader of the Congregation Agudath Jacob in Waco, Holocaust Remembrance Day hits close to home.
"Over six million of our Jewish brethren died during the Holocaust including some of my relatives," Rabbi Fuller said.
"I lost great grandparents and some grand aunts and uncles to the Holocaust. They were residents of southern Poland, then were transported to camps and perished there."
According to Jewishvirtuallibrary.org, the Holocaust claimed 6,258,673 Jewish lives in 21 different countries from 1933 to 1945.
It's been 80 years since the Holocaust began; Rabbi Fuller says he tries to treat Holocaust Remembrance Day or Yom HaShoah with the utmost sincerity each year.
"I often wonder how something of that magnitude could happen, and I think the biggest factors were silence and apathy," Rabbi Fuller said.
"I have seen what those extermination camps looked like and what those ovens looked like. It's tremendously moving experience that's hard to put into words."
Rabbi Fuller began his observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day Sunday evening by lighting a lone candle in memory of his relatives who died at extermination camps.
"We light a candle to bring hope, that we can avoid similar kinds of sadness in the future," Rabbi Fuller said.
For Rabbi Fuller, it's a hope he prays never extinguishes.
"I always take a moment to remember what happened to my people, but I always focus on what we can do today to prevent those things from happening again," Rabbi Fuller said.
Waco's annual Holocaust Remembrance Service, Yom Hashoah, will be at 7 p.m. April 16 at Temple Rodef Sholom, 1717 N. New Road.