Holocaust Remembrance Day
Holocaust Remembrance Day is a day that has been set aside for remembering the victims of the Holocaust and for reminding Americans of what can happen to civilized people when bigotry, hatred and indifference reign.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Council, created by act of the U.S. Congress in 1980, was mandated to lead the nation in civic commemorations and to encourage appropriate Remembrance observances throughout the country. Observances and Remembrance activities can occur during the week of Remembrance that runs from the Sunday before through the Sunday after the actual date. There are a number of reasons to support Holocaust Remembrance Day:
- To promote equality and diversity and the elimination of discrimination by raising awareness of the causes and effects of racism and prejudice in society. This includes awareness of the impact of the Holocaust and other acts of systematic discrimination that leads to genocide;
- To commemorate and remember the victims of the Holocaust; the persecution and mass murder of six million Jews;
- To commemorate and remember the victims of persecution and murder that resulted from the targeting of other groups of people by Nazi race policies. These include the Roma and Sinti, black people, mentally and physically disabled people, lesbian and gay people and many of the Slavic peoples;
- To promote harmony between communities, including racial and religious harmony;
- To promote universal human rights;
- To promote equality, diversity and the elimination of discrimination by raising awareness of the causes and effects of racism and prejudice in society. This includes awareness of the impact of the Holocaust and other acts of systematic discrimination that leads to genocide
While there can be religious aspects to such a day, it is not a religious observance as such. The internationally recognized date comes from the Hebrew calendar and corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan on that calendar. That is the date on which Israel commemorates the victims of the Holocaust. In Hebrew, Holocaust Remembrance Day is called Yom Hashoah. When the actual date of Yom Hashoah falls on a Friday (as happens in 2008) the state of Israel, following the Knesset legislation establishing the event, observes Yom Hashoah on the preceding Thursday. When it falls on a Sunday (2010, 2011, 2013, 2014), Yom Hashoah is observed on the following Monday.
The Holocaust is not merely a story of destruction and loss; it is a story of an apathetic world and a few rare individuals of extraordinary courage. It is a remarkable story of the human spirit and the life that flourished before the Holocaust, struggled during its darkest hours, and ultimately prevailed as survivors rebuilt their lives.
Click on the following link to view a photographic video montage of Region 1's premiere Holocaust Remembrance Event:
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C.