Saturday, January 27, 2007

Yom HaShoah

For the dead AND the living, we must bear witness.

--Elie Wiesel

I was going to write a blog post about my experiences at the United States Holocaust Museum, but I simply could not do my thoughts and emotions justice. I am humbled by the enormity of it all. I am rendered speechless and angry and upset.

Today is International Holocaust Memorial Day, described by Wikipedia as:

In a unanimous vote, the United Nations General Assembly voted on November 1, 2005, to designate January 27 as the "International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust." January 27, 1945 is the day that the former Nazi concentration and extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated. Even before the UN vote, January 27 was already observed as Holocaust Memorial Day in the United Kingdom since 2001, as well as other countries, including Sweden, Italy, Germany, Finland, Denmark and Estonia. Israel observes Yom HaShoah vea hagvora, the "Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust and the courage of the Jewish people ," on the 27th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, which generally falls in April. This memorial day is also commonly observed by Jews outside of Israel.


From the Museum Website:

The United Nations General Assembly designated January 27 as an annual, international day of remembrance, by official resolution on November 1, 2005. The resolution urges every member nation to honor the memory of Holocaust victims and encourages the development of educational programs about Holocaust history as part of the resolve to help prevent future acts of genocide.

The UN resolution rejects denial of the Holocaust, and condemns discrimination and violence based on religion or ethnicity.


If you can today, please take a moment to remember those who perished and those who survived. Let us promise to speak up and speak out against injustice, violence and discrimination in all forms, against anyone.

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out –

Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out –

Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.

-- Attributed to Martin Niemöller (1892-1984), anti-Nazi German pastor


J said...

I love that poem, every time I read it, it reminds me why we must live a life we can be proud of, why we cannot take our liberties for granted, why we cannot let people rot in guantanimo and so on...take their rights away first, and ours will be next.

I didn't know about this holiday. Thank you for letting me know. I've been the the museum in Washington DC, and it was pretty amazing. Also saw the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam. Wow.

Random Kath said...


Thanks for commenting! Someday I would love to get to the Anne Frank House - it was reading her diary so many years ago that set me off on a mission to learn as much as I could about the Holocaust. What struck me most about the DC museum, is how much the U.S. knew and just let slide - it was really impressed upon me how little it would have took to stop things, or at least made it harder for things to happen. We also could have taken in LOTS more refugees, and our treatment of the cruise ship full of refugees that came to find asylum, was absolutely immoral and criminal, IMHO . . .