Published 12:00 am Monday, April 8, 2013

CHINA GROVE — Holding flags emblazoned with the bright blue Star of David, dozens marched the more than a mile stretch through downtown China Grove Sunday afternoon as supporters paid tribute to Holocaust victims.
Messianic Rabbi Yossi Wentz organized the local March of Remembrance, also held in several larger cities across the U.S.. The walk mirrors the March of Life held in Europe each year to honor the more than six million Jews killed in Nazi Germany.
“I just think it’s important that people understand — we’ve got to remember stuff like this,” Wentz said. “If we try to put it aside, then what are we going to do in the future?”
Wentz, like others who walked Sunday, he said, lost ancestors in the Holocaust.
He said the event should be remembered not just out of respect for the millions slaughtered or for awareness of continued anti-Semitism, but because history is repetitive.
“If one group of people suffer, it’s going to be everybody that suffers,” he said. “If we don’t take the time to remember horrific scenes such as this, the holocaust, then we’re doomed to repeat it.”
The march kicked off from the Lutheran Chapel on Eudy Street in China Grove. The 1.6-mile trek ended at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church on Main Street.
Once they arrived at St. Marks, supporters filed into the fellowship hall for testimony, messages about the Holocaust and to light special candles as the Kaddish, a mourning song, was sung.
It took supporters about an hour to make the peaceful journey.
Traveling parallel to the railroad tracks on Main Street served as a reminder, supporters said, of rail cars that imprisoned millions of Jews on their ways to various concentration camps.
As they marched, the sounds of chatter were interrupted only by thunderous blasts from horns, including Mark Rasmussen’s shofar, a long, spiraled ram’s horn he referred to as “the voice of God.”
The Mooresville resident said he walked to support Israel and to draw attention to the similarities of today’s society and Nazi Germany.
“It’s going to happen again,” Rasmussen said. “People in the churches didn’t listen when it happened the first time. People aren’t listening now.”
Several who walked came from out of town. Some, like Angie Fuoco, came from out of state.
“I met this group when my congregation had a tour of Israel in late 2011,” Fuoco said. “I’ve been coming up here to worship with them when I can.”
Fuoco, a Georgia resident, said she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to walk with her sister congregation.
“They’re wonderful — filled with the spirit of God. I was only happy to volunteer to be a part of this,” she said.

Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.