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Oklahoma City bombing anniversary-Day of Faith

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Edward Kaswan lost his father, his mother and his brother in a genocide of hatred that lasted years. Shane Rosas lost his mother in an hate-fueled explosion that took only an instant.

Each took part in a ceremony at the Oklahoma City National Memorial on Sunday, remembering Holocaust victims and hoping not only to keep alive the memory of their lost loved ones but to spread a message that hatred based on religion or race is wrong.

``Killing in the name of what you believe is never justified, not in Oklahoma, not in Israel, not anywhere in the world,'' said Edie Roodman, executive director of the Jewish Foundation of Greater Oklahoma City.

The event, held alongside the reflecting pool at the memorial, opened a series events planned over 10 days to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the April, 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

``This is a week not of tearing open old wounds, but a week of hope and pride,'' Oklahoma City National Memorial executive director Kari Watkins said.

Kaswan was one of six Holocaust survivors chosen to place a stone on a sculpture in remembrance of victims. Combined, the six symbolized the 6 million Jewish people killed in the Holocaust during World War II.

Kaswan was separated from his family at age 8 and shipped to England in 1938 to live with a Christian family during the war. His parents and brother were killed at the Auschwitz camp, and more than 80 members of his family died in the Holocaust.

``For most people here, it's an occasion of remembrance,'' said Kaswan, who has lived in Oklahoma City for 25 years. ``For some of us who survived it, it's living it over and over again, and we do. We can't help it.''

Anita Barlow placed a stone for her aunt Leah Henson, a survivor from Poland who was liberated from Auschwitz in 1945, and Max Schiff participated in honor of his wife, Henia Ring Schiff, who was freed from Bergen-Belsen. Survivors Ora Harris, Majir and Manya Kornblit and Leah Lapkin also took part.

``It is our job, the ones who survived it all, to remember them,'' Kaswan said.

Rosas' mother, Christy Rosas, was in her fifth day on the job as a receptionist at the Federal Employees Credit Union when a truck bomb exploded outside the Murrah building, killing her and 167 others. Rosas was 5 at the time.

Four other stones were lain by Police Chief William Citty, Fire Chief Keith Bryant, County Commissioner Jim Roth and bookstore owners Jim and Beth Tolbert.

``All of us here today are survivors,'' Rabbi David Packman said. ``Only our tragedies, great or small, differ. We have come together not to compare our pain but to honor our individual humanity.''

The somber ceremony featured violinist Yuval Waldman, another Holocaust survivor, and traditional Jewish songs and prayers.

The Jewish Federation also opened a traveling exhibition, ``Fighting the Fires of Hate: America and the Nazi Book Burnings,'' from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum at the downtown library as part of the remembrance. The exhibition will travel over the next two years to Dallas; Charlotte, N.C.; Boston; Wheeling, Ill.; Des Moines, Iowa; Denver; Albuquerque; Williamsport, Pa.; and Spokane, Wash.
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