Sister Diane Morgan was invited by Rabbi Jack Zanerhaft to light a candle to remember those who were killed in the Holocaust at a special program called Yom Hashoah at Temple Emanu-El in Long Beach on April 23. (Both St. Ignatius Martyr Church and Temple Emanu-El belong to the Long Beach Interfaith Clergy Association.)
“I was both honored and humbled to be one of the six people lighting candles, representing the six million Jewish people who died in the Holocaust,” said Sister Diane. “Each person represented a group involved in some aspect of the Holocaust. As a vowed religious, I represented the Polish nuns who sheltered Jewish adults and children from Nazi Germany.”
It is estimated that 189 convents hid Jewish children from the Nazis at that time. “So many nuns played pivotal roles, risking their own lives to save Jewish children and others during this period of history,” wrote Rabbi Jack Zanerhaft to Sister Diane. He explained further: During the Holocaust, Sisters, Brothers and Priests saved many Jewish children by teaching them the “Our Father” and “Hail Mary” so they could pass as Christians to be saved from the camps. Yet at the same time, these Christians also taught the children a Hebrew prayer so that they would never forget their Jewish Heritage.
This event of remembrance was one of many around the world commemorating Yom Hashoah.