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Yom Hashoa = NEVER AGAIN!

Yom Hashoa = NEVER AGAIN!

What is Yom Hashoa? 

Israel’s Knesset (parliament) established Yom Hashoah, also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day, as a memorial to the approximately six million Jewish people who were slaughtered by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945. It is observed on the 27th day of the month of Nisan. The full name of the day is Yom Hashoah Ve-Hagevurah,

For Holocaust survivers along with those of us who remember the suffering of Jews, among others, due to Hitler’s reign, it is a day of great sadness.  Educational programs about the historical events associated with Yom Hashoah are shown around this time of the year, particularly to students learning about Jewish history. These programs may include a documentary featuring Holocaust survivors’ stories, as well as a Holocaust-themed film. Other groups singled out by the Nazis included LGBTQ individuals, the physically and mentally disabled, gypsies, Poles and other Slavic peoples, Jehova's Witnesses, and members of political opposition groups.  All together approximately 11 million people were murdered at that point in time, but generally speaking the term “Holocaust” refers to the 6 million Jews who were Hitler’s primary targets.

Hitler had a vision of a Master Race of Aryans that would control Europe.  Even though Jews are defined by religion, Hitler saw the Jewish people as a race that he believed needed to be completely annihilated. Likewise, the Roma Gypsies were a nomadic people that were persecuted throughout history. Both groups were denied certain privileges in many European countries. The Germans believed both the Jews and the Gypsies were racially inferior and degenerate and therefore worthless.

I don’t believe that my parent’s generation could ever have envisioned a time when it would be acceptable to deny that the Holocaust ever occurred, yet with the advent of social media, this has become a real issue.  Holocaust denial on the Internet is especially a problem because of the ease and speed with which such misinformation can be disseminated. In the United States, where the First Amendment to the Constitution ensures freedom of speech, it is not against the law to deny the Holocaust nor to propagate Nazi and antisemitic hate speech. European countries such as Germany and France have criminalized denial of the Holocaust and have banned Nazi and neo-Nazi publications. The Internet is now the chief source of Holocaust denial and the chief means of recruiting for Holocaust denial organizations.

Yom Hashoa is being marked with many ceremonies.  A day of remembrance, like Yom HaShoah, is not only important for remembering those who lost their lives, but for subsequent generations to learn the important lessons that will keep such a tragedy from happening again. One lesson any student of the Holocaust learns is that most of the bystanders and onlookers were silent.

Survivor Elie Wiesel said, “What hurts the victim the most is not the cruelty of the oppressor but the silence of the bystander.”

The Holocaust could never have happened had it not been for the silence of the onlookers. Hence, the lesson is clear: People must never be silent again





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Today is: February 22, 2019 - 1:20pm
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