Whether it is because of the war raging in Ukraine, the unbelievable rise of antisemitism being felt all over the world, its juxtaposition to this past weekend’s Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day (April 24), or any number of other reasons, I feel that this year’s Yom HaShoah is drawing more interest than I remember. I bring this up as Yom HaShoah begins tomorrow evening and runs through Thursday.
There are countless numbers of Holocaust remembrance programs taking place this week, many of which are being held virtually, thus maximizing the opportunities available. Here are just a handful you can choose from:
Days of Remembrance Commemoration, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (Tuesday, April 26 at 3:00 pm)
From Australia to New York: Bringing Holocaust Survivors to Living Rooms, a 10-hour broadcast featuring survivors telling their story from New York, Mexico, Australia, Israel, and Poland (begins on Wednesday, April 27 at 4:30 pm)
Global Yom HaShoah Commemoration, featuring Claremont McKenna College’s Prof. Wendy Lower (Thursday, April 28 at 9:00 am)
Unto Every Person There is a Name, a joint commemoration program between Yad Vashem and B’nai Brith International (Thursday, April 28 at 7:30 am)
75th Anniversary of the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial: Yom HaShoah Symposium, for a deeper look at the Nuremberg Trials and its pivotal figures (Thursday, April 28 at 12:00 pm)
Holocaust Museum LA’s 30th Annual Yom HaShoah Commemoration, being done in partnership with the ADL (Sunday, May 1 at 2:00 pm)
This list does not even include the local commemorations that have or will be taking place throughout our local community.
One of the vital aspects of Yom HaShoah is the importance of remembering. As we all know, with each passing day, we are losing people who personally witnessed and experienced the horrors of what mankind can do when hatred goes on unchecked. This is the last generation of people who have first-hand knowledge and can speak about their experiences. It is our responsibility to listen to their stories so that we can tell them when they are gone.
In his Proclamation on Days of Remembrance of Victims of the Holocaust delivered on April 22, President Biden said,
Remembrance is our eternal duty, but remembrance without action risks becoming an empty ritual. As individuals, we must never be indifferent to human cruelty and human suffering. As nations, we must stand together across the international community against antisemitism, which is once again rearing its ugly head around the world. We must combat other forms of hatred and educate new generations about the Holocaust. We must reject those who try to deny the Holocaust or to distort its history for their own ends.
It is our job… our responsibility to not only continue to keep in mind and share this important message but also our obligation to call out and confront all forms of hatred whenever and wherever we see it.
One final thought… in Israel, since the early 1960s, a siren has sounded for two minutes on Yom HaShoah that causes everyone to stop what they are doing to remember.
While we don’t have a siren here in the greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys, consider this message your siren. Stop what you are doing RIGHT NOW to reflect and remember.
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