For the religious community throughout the New Haven area, one thing is consistent — they condemn the actions of the white nationalists in Charlottesville, while the rest of the country tries to process what happened.
For one New Haven resident, the images from Saturday’s march are all to familiar.
It was 70 years ago, but for Andy Sarkeny, it seems like a haunting yesterday.
“I’m watching television and I’m seeing a couple of people walking with the swastika on the arm. I said wait a minute. I lived that life in 1944. Did we learn anything?” Sarkeny said.
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The march, the chants of Charlottesville bringing the 81-year-old back to his childhood, living in a Jewish ghetto in Hungary.
“They push me around, they spit on me, call me a dirty Jew. Now what the heck 6, 5-year-old kid would understand what they are talking about?” Sarkeny added.
For the past 60 years, Andy lived, worked and raised a family in the United States and then came Charlottesville.
“Death to the Jews, the bloody Jews. They will not take over the country….the meaning language used even to the President’s daughter who chose to become a Jew. It’s revolting. It’s unacceptable for this country. I have been living here over 60 years. This is my home. I don’t need to be reminded of the horrors and tragedy. Members of my family were murdered just because we were Jews. It’s very difficult to handle,” Sarkeny told News 8.
When Reverend Kimber saw the events in Charlottesville, it brought back memories from another hurtful time in American history.
“It really reminded me of the Birmingham massacre. When they had hose pipes and dogs and when white supremacists were taking over during the march of Dr. Martin Luther King, there was a picture that was shown on television and this same picture was shown on television. It was almost like a repeat,” the Reverend said.
The reverend, part of the Joshua-generation is hoping to unite with other religious leaders to condemn the hate.
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And the Jewish Federation told News 8 that they are “appalled and saddened” and “stand shoulder to shoulder to repel the forces of evil and seek justice, peace and freedom for all Americans.”
As for Andy, the hate filled scene from Charlottesville hasn’t lead him to lose hope.
“This country is still so strong. It’s been through so many things. We’ll overcome this one,” Sarkeny said.
News 8 has been told by the Mayor’s Office that they are hoping to bring together not just religious leaders, but leaders from businesses, civic and education communities to reaffirm the values of tolerance and acceptance in New Haven. They are looking to host that event early next week.