Holocaust Remembrance Day - The Importance of Discussion
The Importance of Discussion
This year marks the 68th year since the Nazi death camps were liberated by Allied troops. To the survivors the Holocaust remains an ever-present horrifying testament to the depths of evilness. Their memories and experience of the Holocaust shaped their lives and the lives of their children.
Image credit: anderm / 123RF Stock Photo
However, for some the Holocaust seems like a distant part of history. It can even seem impossible that these horrendous events occurred. Remembering the Holocaust is the responsibility of everyone with a conscience. It is our duty to make sure we confront the questions of how did it happen, how could it happen and could it happen again. The fight against ignorance and revisionists is a constant battle and one we cannot afford to lose.
The best defense to ignorance is of course education. This is why days such as Yom HaShoah are so important. Yom HaShoah is Holocaust Remembrance Day and is the day on which Israelis make a special effort to remember the Holocaust and honor its victims, survivors and heroes. The events of Yom HaShoah ensure that at least once a year the Holocaust to brought to the forefront of our minds. It serves to educate younger generations that the Holocaust was very real and could happen again.
The question always remains about how we teach about such a horrific event such as the Holocaust? We do it through having an open dialogue with young people about hatred and intolerance. We teach our children not to be indifferent to the suffering of others and the dangers of remaining silent and apathetic. We speak to them about their moral responsibility towards all other human beings.
The Holocaust did not happen by accident. It happened because everyone in a society from the government to private companies to the individual chose to at best ignore and at worse actively participate in the prejudice, hatred, torment and ultimately mass murder of millions. It is these lesions that we need to remember and teach to our children, grandchildren and in reality anyone who will listen. It is only through talking and remembering that we can stop this from ever happening again to anyone.
Image credit: intrepido35 / 123RF Stock Photo
How Israel Observes Yom HaShoah
HaShoah means “The Catastrophe” and is the Hebrew word for the Holocaust. This day occurs each year on the 27th of Nissan, this year at sundown on Sunday, April 7th. Before sundown the country closes down, even television stations halt broadcasts. The tributes begin with a state ceremony at Yad VaShem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Museum. During this ceremony all national flags are lowered to half-mast as the national day of mourning begins.
The next day schools, military bases and even places of work hold ceremonies to remember the Holocaust. At 10 am air raid sirens sound in every community. For two minutes the nation of Israel comes to a stand-still – work ceases and cars stop as we stand in silent reverence to the victims of the Holocaust. We remember and say a silent prayer for the victims and for guidance from G-d.