(by Don Johnson, UPI) — Israelis stood in silence on Thursday morning for the annual Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) to honor 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis during World War II.
The country came to a standstill for 2 minutes at 10 a.m. to mark the remembrance, at which time sirens were heard across Israel.
Each year on Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom HaShoah, the 2-minute period completely brings just about all activity to a full stop. Thursday, drivers stood by their vehicles on roads nationwide, pedestrians stopped and traffic ground to a halt when the sirens sounded.
An official opening event at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem was held Wednesday night to begin ceremonies for the annual remembrance. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and some Holocaust survivors and their families were in attendance.
During the ceremony, Rivlin spoke of the 900 Holocaust survivors who died over the past year from COVID-19.
“They survived the ghettos and the death camps, the immigrant ships and the internment camps,” he said, according to The Times of Israel. “But the final battle of their lives was fought with them bewildered and isolated, behind masks and gloves, yearning for contact but parted from their loved ones.”
Thursday, Rivlin and Netanyahu laid a wreath at the museum during a remembrance ceremony.
On Thursday morning, Knesset lawmakers read out the names of Holocaust victims during the “Unto Every Person There is a Name” ceremony. Other remembrance ceremonies in schools, army bases and government buildings were scheduled for later Thursday.
Holocaust Remembrance Day is a national memorial day in Israel and has been observed since the 1950s.
Published at UPI .com. Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission.
1. a) What is Yom HaShoah? (When is it? What is its purpose? Where is it observed?)
b) How does International Holocaust Remembrance Day differ?
2. List the events that take place in Israel each year on Yom HaShoah.
3. a) For how many minutes does Israel come to a standstill on Yom Hashoah?
b) Watch the videos under “Resources” below. How does this commemoration inspire you?
4. a) How many Jewish people were murdered by the Nazis during WWII?
b) Look through some of the links under “Resources” below (links are below the videos). Visit Yad Vashem’s testimonies page and youtube page and check out some of the survivors’ stories.
Why do you think it is vital for Holocaust Remembrance Day to be commemorated in the U.S. and around the world?
5. According to a survey conducted in 2020,* nearly two-thirds of Americans between 18 and 39 do not know that 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. Among millennials and Gen Z, 1 in 10 believes it was the Jews who caused the Holocaust. One in 4 says the Holocaust is a myth, and 1 in 8 claims to have never heard of the Holocaust. (*survey conducted by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany)
a) What should schools do to educate their students about the Holocaust?
b) Yom Hashoah 2021 was not a big story in American news outlets. Why do you think this is so?
c) How should publishers and editors in every media organization fulfill their responsibility to make sure we never forget?
Remembering the Holocaust:
- Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) is observed as Israel’s day of commemoration for the approximately six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust as a result of the actions carried out by Nazi Germany. In Israel, it is a national memorial day. It was inaugurated in 1953. It is held on the 27th of Nisan (April/May), unless the 27th would be adjacent to Shabbat, in which case the date is shifted by a day. Yom HaShoah is also observed by many Jewish communities in the United States and elsewhere in the world. The date relates both to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising which began 13 days earlier, and to the Israeli Independence Day which is eight days later.
- Some other countries have different commemorative days for the same event: wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocaust_Memorial_Days. (In 1979, the U.S. Congress established Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust (DRVH) as an 8 day period for remembrance programs and ceremonies, from the Sunday before Yom Hashoah to the Sunday after Yom Hashoah.)
- International Holocaust Remembrance Day is on January 27 every year and marks the liberation of Auschwitz – the Nazi death camp – in 1945. It was designated by a United Nations General Assembly Resolution in 2005. The resolution came after a special session was held earlier that year, on January 24, 2005 during which the UN General Assembly marked the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps and the end of the Holocaust. This day is also a national event in the United Kingdom and in Italy. (Read the 2005 UN resolution and more at wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Holocaust_Remembrance_Day)
and a Jan. 27, 2021 article “The liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau: Holocaust Remembrance Day“
- Yad Vashem (“Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority”) is Israel’s official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust established in 1953. The origin of the name is from a Bible verse: “And to them will I give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name (Yad Vashem) that shall not be cut off.” (Isaiah 56:5).
“When the war was over and the mind-boggling scope of [Hitler’s] Final Solution was fully grasped — the Germans and their collaborators had annihilated 6 million Jews from every corner of Europe, wiping out more than one-third of the world’s Jewish population — the moral imperative to remember grew even more intense.” (from Jeff Jacoby’s commentary: ‘Never forget,’ the world said of the Holocaust. But the world is forgetting)
From HonestReporting.com: Israel on Thursday marked Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. At 10 AM local time, the entire country comes to a standstill for two minutes as people remember the horrors of the Holocaust, as well as acts of heroism during WWII. Together, we remember six million Jews — and countless others — who were murdered by the Nazis. No people should ever again be defenseless in the face of forces that seek their destruction.
A ceremony in Jerusalem at Yad Vashem on April 7 opened Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah) 2021 (Ruptly News – Russian TV)
A memorial siren brought traffic, pedestrians and cafe-goers to a halt in Israel on Thursday, April 8 as the nation honored six million Jews killed in the Nazi Holocaust.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin attended a wreath-laying ceremony at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum in Jerusalem.
Israel remembers victims of the Holocaust with nationwide standstill (Global News – Canadian TV)
Sirens sounded nationwide with traffic stopped and motorists stepping out of their vehicles to stand for two minutes in honor of the Holocaust dead.
Israel: Country comes to standstill as sirens sound for Holocaust Remembrance Day
(Ruptly News – Russian TV)
Read previous articles:
- “Yom HaShoah 2017“
- “Yom HaShoah 2016: Remembering those killed during the Nazi Holocaust“
- 2018: Israel comes to standstill to remember Holocaust victims
- 2009 Daily News Article on Holocaust Remembrance Day
For Holocaust museums:
- The Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Remembrance Museum in Israel, go to yadvashem.org.
- Visit Yad Vashem’s youtube page
- For the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., go to ushmm.org.
- For a list of Holocaust Museums around the world, go to science.co.il/Holocaust-Museums.asp.
In addition to many of the well-known books recounting the Holocaust, we recommend the following:
- “The Righteous: The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust” by Martin Gilbert
- “The Hiding Place” by Corrie ten Boom
- or any of the books by Nechama Tec
Also important, read the miraculous first hand accounts of events leading up to Isarel’s Six Day War: “The Lion’s Gate: On the Front Lines of the Six Day War“
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