Tucson’s upcoming Yom HaShoah commemoration: ‘They Were Children Just the Same’

Isaak Koschland, director of Jewish Day School, Ichenhausen, Germany (Courtesy Holocaust History Center)

Child victims will be the focus of the annual community Yom HaShoah commemoration, sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, which will be held Sunday, May 1, at 2 p.m. at the Tucson Jewish Community Center.

This year’s program, “They Were Children Just the Same,” will feature video interviews of members of the Tucson community talking about their family members who were murdered as children during the Holocaust.

The event will also include a procession of local Holocaust survivors and a candle lighting ceremony.

Guest performers will include The Gatekeepers, a musical group from Ironwood Hills Church.

This year’s community-wide commemoration is coordinated to coincide with the opening of the Butterfly Memorial at the Tucson J. “The Butterfly Trail” is a series of installations across the community that will serve as memorial monuments in memory of child victims of the Holocaust and child victims of violence everywhere, says Bryan Davis, director of the JCRC and the Holocaust Education & Commemoration Project and executive director of the Jewish History Museum.

The Butterfly Trail features ceramic butterflies painted by community members. Developed by Wayne and Amy Gould, the Butterfly Trail began with an installation at the University of Arizona Hillel Foundation that was dedicated in April 2015. Future sites will include Congregation Chaverim, the Holocaust History Center at the Jewish History Museum, Children’s Museum Tucson and Tucson Botanical Gardens.