Former neo-Nazi joins UMass students in walk to remember Holocaust victims

Hampshire County

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – UMass students gathered to remember the victims of the Holocaust Monday night.  

Monday night’s walk comes just days after a woman was shot and killed, and several others wounded in a synagogue in California and included a former neo-Nazi, who has converted to Judaism. 

Dozens of members of Alpha Epsilon Pi – a Jewish Fraternity, walked across the UMass campus as part of “We Walk to Remember” to honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust. 

“We’re coming together as a brotherhood, and with the Jewish community on campus, to sort of make a stand, and say that we are not okay with this,” said Kenan Slade of Alpha Epsilon Pi. “This is not good, this can’t happen again.” 

This year, AEPI partnered with Hillel House to bring a speaker who today practices Judaism, but his past was very different. 

“I was in a neo-Nazi group in East Germany, I was one of the leaders there,” said Yonatan Langer. 

Monday’s remembrance event comes just days after a 19-year-old gunman killed one woman and wounded several others at a synagogue on the final day of Passover.  

Langar, who was part of a neo-Nazi group from his teens to mid-twenties, said too often, people hold others accountable for their own challenges. 

“[What] I learned is that whenever we put the blame on others, when we are putting the hatred out of ourselves, not only does it never come to a good end, but it is never fulfilling,” said Langer. “I learned to spread light, and not fight the darkness with darkness.” 

Investigators said the California gunman said online that he was also responsible for an arson attack at a nearby mosque last month. 

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