This article originally appeared in amny.
Written by Dean Moses.
The Museum of Jewish Heritage solemnly observed Holocaust Memorial Day weekend on Sunday with a special, star-studded reading of Elie Wiesel’s Night that lasted throughout the afternoon.
From children to seniors, New Yorkers marked the 79th anniversary of the Auschwitz death camp liberation by remembering the lives lost. At Lower Manhattan’s Living Memorial to the Holocaust, located at 36 Battery Place, they filed into their seats Sunday to listen to what is widely considered one of the most important works ever written about the Holocaust.
First published in 1960, Wiesel chronicles in “Night” the horrific experience he endured during the Holocaust and World War II, recalling his deportation and imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp. “Night” has endured as a powerful account of the horrors of the Holocaust and Wiesel’s defining work; he won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 recognizing his contributions toward “being a messenger to mankind: his message is one for peace, atonement and dignity.”
Sunday’s reading of “Night” was performed by a cast that included actor Julianna Margulies, singer Regina Spektor, journalist Ann Curry, actor Adam Kantor, and more.
Actress Eleanor Reissa said she wanted to be part of the event to not only honor the six million people who perished during the holocaust, but to also stand in defiance of rising antisemitism.
“I feel like I am where I need to be on such a day,” Reissa said. “With these days, being so fraught with antisemitism and fascism and stupidity and horror, I think it is important to stand up.”
According to the NYPD, antisemitism has been leading hate crimes in the Big Apple since the Israel-Hamas war erupted in October. Bruce Ratner, chairman of the Jewish Heritage Museum, says that despite the rise of attacks on the Jewish people and vandalism of synagogues across the five boroughs, he continues to have hope for the future.
“Antisemitism has always been there, but it’s never been, in my lifetime, as strong and horrible as it is right now. Almost every nation in the world is involved in antisemitism in some way. However, we continue to have hope and understand, and we really want to make sure that the world recognizes what the Jewish people have done and what they’ve gone through. And we don’t want that to happen to us or anybody else,” Ratner said.