City of Charleston resolution seeks to honor Holocaust survivor, stand against antisemitism

With Hanukkah just around the corner, the City of Charleston is taking a stand against antisemitism through a new resolution
Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 6:11 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 6, 2022 at 10:01 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - With Hanukkah just around the corner, the City of Charleston is taking a stand against antisemitism through a new resolution, while also honoring one of its own, Holocaust survivor Joe Engel.

The Charleston Jewish Federation approached the City of Charleston and asked them if they would pass a resolution in solidarity with the Jewish community in opposition to antisemitism and all forms of hate in honor of Hanukkah. But as they were preparing to draft that resolution, a pillar of the Charleston Jewish community passed away.

Holocaust survivor Joe Engel died on Nov. 26.

He spent countless hours telling his story of survival from Auschwitz to hundreds of thousands of community members and students. Now the resolution looks to honor Engel’s life, while also taking a stand against hate.

“At the end of every single time that Joe spoke, he shared about spreading loving kindness to others, to stopping hate. I think that this resolution speaks to that,” Erin Boynton, chief impact officer for the Charleston Jewish Federation, said. “With the current rise in antisemitism that we’ve seen, it’s so important that our governments and our community partners are really standing with us against antisemitism right now and I think to honor Joe’s legacy in that really says something.”

Brandon Fish, director of community relations for the Charleston Jewish Federation, says this comes at an uncomfortable and alienating time for people in the Jewish community.

“Whenever have the support of the City of Charleston for example, it really reminds our community that the rest of the community stands in solidarity with us.” Fish said.

Boynton says this serves as a reminder to continue the legacy of survivors.

“As our survivors are passing, it’s so important to continue their legacy so if you’ve heard a survivor speak or children of survivors speak, please continue to tell their stories because once they’re not here with us, we have to be the ones telling that story,” Boynton said.

Fish says if the people of Charleston could take one thing away from this resolution and the life and story of Joe Engel, it would be to be kind to one another.