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Statement of history of the Nellis Holocaust Memorial Luncheon, probably 2005



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HOLOCAUST REMEMBERANCE LUNCHEON AT NELLIS Some years the Military Command of the United States, Recommended that all military personnel should be made aware of the history of the Holocaust as perpetrated by the Nazis. The best way to hear the facts would be from the Survivors themselves. Southern Nevada is the home of Nellis Air Force Base directly adjacent to Las Vegas. In 1998 Master Sargent Schields was approached by the Nellis Chapel community to look into the possibility of a program in conjunction with the Jewish Community regarding the Holocaust. Norman Siegenberg, a World War II veteran was the Jewish Lay Leader for Nellis. A meeting was arranged at the home of Mrs. Edythe Katz, the founder of the Sterling/Mack /Kronberg resource Library as part of the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas. In attendance were Mrs. Katz, Sergeant Schields, Norman Seigenberg and Anita and Henry Schuster. The Schusters were the Chairpersons of the Holocaust Survivors Group of Southern Nevada. The group was organized in 1995 as a part of the Jewish Community Center with a membership of thirty-five. By 1998 the group had increased to a membership of one hundred. The first Holocaust Remembrance Luncheon was held at the Nellis Officers Club with fifty Survivors attending and was joined by a good number of military personnel. Mrs. Katz arranged the guest speaker from Las Angeles, a former member of the Schindler's List group. A display of memorabilia and artifacts was also arranged. It came form the Holocaust Library. In 1999 a repeat performance was equally successful with speakers from the Holocaust Survivors Group. Special invited guests were representatives from Gov. Miller's office as well as representatives from the United States Congress. Upon the untimely death of Commander Seigenberg, Post 711 Jewish War Veterans, Henry Schuster became the new Jewish Lay Leader for Nellis. In 2000, a more elaborate luncheon was organized by the Schusters and retired Chaplain Lt. Colonel Rowberry. Mrs. Katz Yarchever arranged the guest speaker, U.S. Army General Levin Ret. Due to the war, "Iraqi Freedom", no affairs with civilian guests or luncheons on base were permitted. This year, 2005, Captain Oren Goldstein, a Jewish officer at Nellis, conceived the idea to approach the Wing Chaplain Col. Swanson requesting to be allowed to have a repeat performance of the luncheon. With permission of the Base commander Col.Givhan, he contacted the Schusters asking for their help in organizing a special Holocaust Remembrance Luncheon to be held on May 6, 2005. With Capt. Goldstein's work on the base and the Schusters' participation regarding the Survivors and special guests from the community, the entire program was the best ever. Special guests were the Hon. Gilbert Yarchever, Mrs. Yarchever, Rabbi and Mrs. Brooks, Rabbi Goldbart and from the Air Force, Major General Goldfein, Commander Air Warfare Center, Colonel and Mrs. Walter D. Givhan, Commander 99th Air Base Wing, Chaplain Colonel Swanson, Wing Chaplain and the Chaplain Corps, Master Sergeant Carl Vetter, Nellis Jewish Lay Leader and four Jewish War Veterans from the community. The officer's club ballroom was beautifully decorated. The Holocaust Library provided the display of the artifacts in the vestibule. Two Air Force luxury buses picked up the Survivors from the Flamingo Library parking lot. Capt. Oren Goldstein was the master of ceremonies. Following the Benediction by Chaplain Swanson, was the presentation of colors. Rabbi Goldbart sang the national anthem followed by Rabbi Brooks prayer to introduce the lighting of eleven special candles. Six represented the six million Jews and five represented the five million others that were victims of the Nazis. Rabbi Goldbart chanted a special prayer appropriate for the occasion. Following the introduction by Capt. Goldstein, Henry Schuster delivered a short address followed by Dr. Bruno Borenstein. An elegant luncheon was served, followed by a stirring keynote speech given Las Vegas Survivor, Lydia Lebovic. The Officer's Club dining personnel arranged the seating with nameplates at each position. Capt. Goldstein made sure that every table had at least one Survivor to speak with the Air personnel. Prior to returning to the library, a tour of Nellis AFB was enjoyed by all.