Yom HaShoah 2011—A Day to Remember the Victims of the Holocaust

Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, was officially designated as a day of observance by the Israeli Knesset in 1951 and is an internationally recognized day to remember, honor and memorialize the more than six million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust.

The date corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar and marks the anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising. Because the actual date of Yom HaShoah falls on a Sunday—May 1—this year, in Israel it will be officially observed on Monday, May 2. Many other countries will observe this event on Sunday, May 1, and Monday, May 2.

The U.S. Congress established the “Days of Remembrance” as the nation’s annual commemoration of the Holocaust. This year, the Days of Remembrance are May 1-8.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) has designated the following theme for this year’s observance: Justice and Accountability in the Face of Genocide: What Have We Learned? Please visit the USHMM web site to learn about the full significance of the theme.

An explanation that starts with the quote:

That four great nations, flushed with victory and stung with injury stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgment of the law is one of the most significant tributes that Power has ever paid to Reason.

— Justice Robert Jackson, Chief U.S. Counsel to the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, Germany, November 21, 1945

To the few remaining Dutch survivors of the Holocaust and to the descendants of the more than 100,000 Dutch Jews who were murdered by the Nazis during World War II, this theme may have a special, perhaps haunting significance, and this Yom HaShoah may be a particularly poignant one.

A couple of weeks ago, our own Holly Robinson, AKA Holly in Cincinnati, pointed me to an article about a recent trove of documents made public by the Netherlands National Archive, from previously sealed archives, relating to the arrests and deportations to Nazi concentration camps of some 9,000 Dutch Jews.

Please read about this development in an upcoming post shortly.

For now, let us observe this Holocaust Remembrance Day and let us once more recommit ourselves and once again re-affirm those words of “Never Again!”

For an excellent article on the historical background of Yom HaShoah and how it is observed, please go here.

Image, courtesy U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

  

Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

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