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(Senator Arlen Specter, others at Holocaust remembrances) (550)

By Joanne L. Nix

USIA Staff Writer

Washington -- On the 50th anniversary of the liberation of

concentration camps in Europe, Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), chairman

of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, spoke to a gathering

of Holocaust survivors and their families gathered on the steps of the

Nation's Capitol.

"In today's society," he said, "memorial services for victims of

hatred, extremism and violence are all too frequent." He cited the

Oklahoma City bombing, which occurred last week when a terrorist bomb

exploded at a Federal building leaving hundreds dead and injured, as

the latest in a string of terrorist attacks, both inside the United

States and outside. "We must commit ourselves to principles of

tolerance, brotherhood and justice," he said.

Specter was a featured speaker at the ceremony which was held on the

steps of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington on April 27. The

program, now in its sixth consecutive year, is coordinated in the

United States by B'nai B'rith, a worldwide Jewish service


Hundreds of communities throughout the world are also publicly

reciting the names of a cross-section of the millions of Jewish and

non-Jewish men, women and children who were murdered during the


The title of the ceremony "Unto Every Person There is a Name" was

chosen "to restore some dignity to those who were stripped of their

identities and robbed of their lives," said Tommy Baer, international

president of B'nai B'rith. "We remember the six million Jewish victims

each year by reading as many names in as many communities as possible.

According to Specter, the U.S. Capitol building is "the greatest

symbol of freedom and justice in the world." He described the reading

of Holocaust victims' names as a significant expression of the dignity

of humankind.

Specter also reported that following the Memorial ceremony, he was

scheduled to chair a Senate Judicial Committee hearing which would

explore ways to prevent "the sort of tragic terrorism we witnessed

last week in Oklahoma City."

"But," he warned, "principles of freedom, including freedom of speech

are fundamental. We must answer (those with whom we disagree) but we

must be careful not to deny them the right to speak ... even though I

disagree with everything he or she might say."

Specter began the reading of the commemorative list of names. One by

one other members of the Senate, including Jim Jeffords (R-Vt.),

Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), stepped forward to

continue the reading. They were followed by Holocaust survivors.

At the same time, another ceremony was being held inside the great

hall of the U.S. Capitol building where hundreds of high-ranking

guests -- top government officials and members of Congress were seated

with diplomats from many nations.

This ceremony also featured some of the men who, 50 years ago as

soldiers, helped liberate survivors of Nazi concentration camps. One

of those men now is the 92-year-old Senator Strom Thurmond, who told

the audience he entered the Buchenwald Concentration Camp in Germany

in April of 1945 and saw hundreds of bodies.