NEW BEDFORD — Usually held at Buttonwood Park, a memorial service took place at Tifereth Israel Synagogue for Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, due to spitting rain and cold.

“How many screams have these walls heard?” said local student Ally Ward, reading an original poem called “Walking Among the Living Dead,” a reflection on a trip to Auschwitz.

The theme of the night was “Save our children, save our future,” also featuring an original song titled “Free” by students Holyn Turner and Sarah Nuernberg.

The program continued with a short speaking portion by Patti Kenner, and a screening of “Ahead of Time: The Extraordinary Journey of Ruth Gruber,” a documentary film of which Kenner was the executive producer.

Gruber was a foreign correspondent and worked for Harold Ickes, secretary of the interior during WWII, to bring 1,000 refugees from Italy to the United States in 1944, according to program flyer. It was the only attempt by the U.S. to shelter Jewish refugees during the way.

The synagogue also hosted Doris Schechter, founder of My Most Favorite Food Company and photographer Irving Schild, two of the 1,000 Jewish refugees from Europe.

“If something had to be done, Ruth did it. She was amazing,” Kenner said. She told Gruber on her 96th birthday that she’d make a film on her life and, with help, finished it in a year so she’d have the chance to see it.

Cynthia Yoken, co-chair of the Holocaust Education and Memorial Committee began the service by saying it was an event of remembrance and another chance “to say never again.”

Mayor Jon Mitchell’s grandfather of New Bedford helped liberate the Dachau concentration camp in Germany.

“We have to take pains never to forget,” the Holocaust, Mitchell said.

It’s been reported that approximately two-thirds of millennials couldn’t identify what Auschwitz was, he noted.

“As time goes on, it becomes more abstract and therefore the work becomes harder,” he added.

A memorial prayer was chanted in Hebrew and names of concentration camps were read. Eleven long, plastic candles were lit up in remembrance of six million Jews and five million other victims including the physically and mentally disabled, persecuted clergy, gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, gay people and political dissidents, as well as in remembrance of loved ones.

Amir Cohen, the executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford, noted that the committee launched the “Trunk of Tolerance” which is filled with teaching materials about the Holocaust. Kids have engaged with it without necessarily having ties to victims.

“These are just people who are being brought up with the right values,” he said.

He noted he visited Berlin last month for a few days to see the Holocaust monument made of large, concrete slabs. “It’s like time stops,” he said.

“They have kept on living in spirit,” Ward read. “You can hear and see the dead as if they are living.”

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