PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A pre-planned event with Holocaust survivors took a whole different meaning Sunday. The victims of both the San Diego and Pittsburgh synagogue shootings were heavy on the hearts of many at the Congregation Rodeph Shalom in North Philadelphia.
Violins played and wreaths were laid for those who never made it out of the German concentration camps.
“We have to learn to live together,” David Wisnia, who escaped a death march from Dachau, said, “or we fall apart.”
Wisnia was one of hundreds who remembered the German atrocities on Holocaust Remembrance Day at Congregation Rodeph Shalom synagogue Sunday.
Sunday was a day that the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia believes began in the 1960s, remembering the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust.
It’s now taking on added meaning after Saturday’s synagogue shooting at Chabad of Poway in San Diego.
“Anti-Semitism is a danger for the Jewish community,” Rabbi Batya Glazer said. “But hate of any community creates a society where hatred becomes an acceptable norm.”
The service featured an increased police presence and bag searches.
“I think that’s where we are in society,” Glazer said. “I think for some people it’s new and some, it’s not a surprise. I feel safer.”
“Prejudice is rearing its ugly head now,” Wisnia said, “and prejudice or hate becomes death.”