Because You Asked: What Is The Significance Of Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day)
An ATP Report Production – on this episode Barry Nussbaum explains the Holocaust and how it is remembered each year around the world.
Welcome to this segment of Because You Asked, I’m Barry Nussbaum.
This year, April 24th is Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. On Monday, to pay tribute to the survival of her people and to honor her grandparents, Emery and Eleanor Nussbaum who survived Auschwitz, our daughter Aliya Nussbaum was one of the 12,000 from all over the world who passed through the front gates of Auschwitz as participants in the March of the Living; Emery and Eleanor are my parents. Sadly, my grandparents and uncle are still at Auschwitz, mixed in the ashes of the millions who were murdered there. Today on Because You Asked, we will explain Yom Hashoah.
Yom Hashoa, or in English, Holocaust Remembrance Day, is observed as Israel’s day of commemoration for the approximately six million Jews who perished in the holocaust. The holocaust was a mass genocide in which six million European Jews were killed as a result of the actions carried out by Nazi Germany and its supporters and collaborators. The victims included 1.5 million children and represented about two-thirds of the nine million Jews who had resided in Europe. A broader definition of the holocaust includes non-Jewish victims of the Nazi campaign of mass extermination based on other ethnic or biological factors, such as the Romani.
From 1941 to 1945, Jews were systematically murdered in the deadliest and most documented genocide in human history. Under the coordination of the SS, with directions from the highest leadership of the Nazi party, every arm of Germany’s bureaucracy was involved in the logistics and the carrying out of the mass murder. Killings took place throughout German-occupied Europe, as well as within Nazi Germany, and across all territories controlled by its allies. Other victims of Nazi crimes included ethnic Poles and other Slavs, Soviet citizens and Soviet POWs, communists, homosexuals, freemasons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and others. Some 42,500 detention facilities were utilized in the concentration of victims for the purpose of gross violations of human rights. Over 200,000 people are estimated to have been holocaust perpetrators.
The date was selected by the Knesset (Israeli parliament) on April 12, 1951. The full name became formal in a law that was enacted on August 19, 1953. Although the date was established by the Israeli government, it has become a day commemorated by Jewish communities and individuals worldwide. Since the early 1960s, the sound of a siren on Yom Hashoah stops traffic and pedestrians throughout the state of Israel for two minutes of silent devotion. The siren blows at sundown and once again at 11 a.m. on this date. All radio and television programs during this day are connected in one way or another with the Jewish destiny in World War II, including personal interviews with survivors; even the musical programs are adapted to the atmosphere of Yom Hashoah. There is no public entertainment on Yom Hashoah, as theaters, cinemas, pubs, and other public venues are closed throughout Israel.
President Trump said this week, “on Yom Hashoah, we look back at the darkest chapter of human history. We mourn, we remember, we pray, and we pledge: never again. I say it, never again.”
Trump also spoke about the achievements of the state of Israel and about the importance of combating antisemitism. “Today, only decades removed from the holocaust, we see a great nation risen from the desert and we see a proud Star of David waving above the state of Israel.”
With despicable acts of anti-Semitism on the rise across the world, and very prominent on college campuses often disguised as BDS, the message of Yom Hashoah is now more important than ever. Never again. Never again.
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