never forget ...
shares personal Holocaust experience
Holocaust Remembrance speaker stressed the importance
of passing on his memories to future generations.
The Rev. Wilson Canafax shared his emotional journey
of liberating Nazi concentration camps Monday night
to an audience of friends, family and students.
Canafax said unless people feel or experience what the
Holocaust was like with their whole being, people down
the line will let it drift off. His speech was sponsored
by Programming Council and TCU Hillel, a Jewish student
After graduating from Southern Methodist Universitys
seminary school, Canafax joined the chaplains core group
through the Methodist church. He was then shipped to
Europe to be part of an engineer combat group. Canafax
was one of many chaplains sent overseas as part of the
I heard of concentration camps but wanted to see
them out of curiosity because we did not know what was
going on, said Canafax, who lives in Hurst and
is the associate minister at First United Methodist
Church of Hurst.
Canafax entered Buchenwald days after the liberation
and still has a vivid depiction of what he saw and heard.
He said he saw the pegs that Nazis would tie nooses
around to hang prisoners in the camps. He also saw the
ovens with the remains of prisoners still inside.
You never forget the things you see, Canafax
said. Especially the fearful and hopeless expressions
of all the people in the concentration camp.
Canafax, along with other chaplains of varying faiths,
brought people away from the concentration camp to a
It was the first time in years for most of the
people to worship, Canafax said.
He described the emotional experience of these people
as they cried and shouted for joy.
Canafax stressed the importance of remembering the Holocaust
by passing on experiences to upcoming generations.
Students have to develop a feeling for what happened
during the Holocaust, Canafax said. Academics
and textbooks are OK, but you have to feel it in order
to understand it.
It was not until recently that Canafax could talk about
his experience in the concentration camps.
It is not easy to relive my experience, but it
gives me great joy to be able to express it so I can
pass it on to future generations, Canafax said.