April 28, 2011

Virginia Warriors reflect on Holocaust

By Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia National Guard Equal Opportunity Office held its annual "Holocaust: Days of Remembrance" program at the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond April 20 and welcomed Soldiers of the Virginia Army Guard to take an educational tour of the museum and learn about the atrocities that took place in Nazi-occupied Europe during the 1930s and 40s.

 

Jay Ipson, a holocaust survivor, speaks to Soldiers of the Virginia Army National Guard during the Virginia National Guard Equal Opportunity Office's Holocaust: Days of Remembrance program at the Virginia Holocaust Museum April 20. Ipson is the president and director of the museum in Richmond. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Click HERE to see more photos from the event on the Virginia National Guard Flickr site.

Following the self-guided tours, the Soldiers were given refreshments in the way of Jewish cuisine, and sat down for a question and answer session with Jay Ipson, the president and director of the museum, who survived Nazi persecution during the Holocaust in Lithuania as a young boy.

“We brought the team out from the Joint Forces Headquarters Detachment, so that we can learn, and be educated about different experiences that the Jewish people went through,” said Capt. Sheryl Lloyd, JFHQ Detachment officer-in-charge. “This was very enlightening, and I think these events are a good process to become a well-rounded Soldier by learning the experiences of all people.”

The Soldiers are allowed to take administrative leave to attend the EO programs and are provided transportation to the events, which provide the Soldiers insight in to other people’s customs and their history.

 

Soldiers of Virginia's Joint Forces Headquarters Detachment stand in a replica of a gas chamber, similar to ones used in concentration camps during the holocaust, while on a self-guided tour of the Virginia Holocaust Museum. More than 20 Soldiers came to the museum to participate in the Virginia Guard Equal Opportunity Office's annual holocaust program. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Click HERE to see more photos from the event on the Virginia National Guard Flickr site.

“The EO team is excellent and they take a lot of time to put these activities on. I know we are all busy,” said Lloyd. “We always have work to do, but it’s important to show that support and get that education because the Army’s all about diversity.”

According to Spc. Lori Adkins, Virginia EO specialist, taking time out of a Soldier’s day to focus on each other’s differences will help facilitate a more effective work environment in the Virginia National Guard by fostering a diverse workplace.

“What a lot of the Soldiers and employees get from the program is they can learn things about their co-worker’s cultures, which can help them not discriminate against one another,” said Adkins.  “As we learn about each other, we tend to grow a little bit bigger as a family.

“The more that we know about each other, the better we can work together. It’s about teaching tolerance through education.”

According to its website, the Virginia Holocaust Museum was founded in 1997 by Mark Fetter, Al Rosenbaum, and Jay Ipson, one of Richmond’s youngest Holocaust survivors, in an effort to preserve and educate people on the atrocities of the Holocaust of World War II.

Through tours, programs, lectures, films and other events, the Virginia Holocaust Museum strives to educate the public and promote tolerance towards all, regardless of religion, nationality, race, sex or creed.

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