Like all Jewish Holidays, Yom HaShoa – Holocaust Remembrance Day – began yesterday evening, April 27th, at sundown and will end today at sundown.
Ever since the liberation of the concentration camps in early 1945, the Jewish people have admonished themselves and the rest of the world to “Never Forget”.
It was believed and hoped that by keeping the memory of those who died alive, by never allowing the world to forget what had happened, not only would those victims be remembered, but that future holocausts could be prevented.
Since then, it has been a forlorn hope, as genocide has taken place repeatedly around the globe – from the killing fields of Cambodia, to Bosnia, to the Rohingas, right up to contemporary times with on-going genocide against the Uighurs in China and Russia’s attempts to eradicate Ukraine.
In Jewish thought, forgetting the victims is like killing them a second.
In my own life time, we have gone from teaching about the Holocaust regularly in elementary schools and later grades (not to mention regular instruction on it in Jewish schools) to an era in which at least one poll suggests that well less than 50% of Millennials and GenXers know that 6 million Jews were killed and well more than ten percent of that same demographic believes the Jews were responsible for causing the Holocaust.
With numbers revealing lack of knowledge like that and continuing genocides around the globe suggest similar or worse numbers elsewhere, it is more important than ever to Never Forget and even more important to protest against such thinking.
The featured image for this post is a picture of the domed ceiling of Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Israel, covered with the pictures of people who died in the Holocaust.