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Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day)

May 2, 2019

Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) History

The Holocaust Remembrance Day, (Yom Hashoah, Hebrew: יום השואה), seeks to commemorate the Holocaust, a systematic and state-planned program to murder millions of Jews and other minority groups in Europe. This program of mass killing was run by the German Nazis in the 1930s and 40s during the Second World War, where Jews and minorities were brought into concentration camps and murdered at the hands of Nazi officials.

This observance seeks to remember and honor the victims of the Holocaust,  including six million Jews and thousands of Russians gypsies, homosexuals, disabled persons and other minorities.

Holocaust Remembrance Day Facts

  • In 2017, Yom Hashoah commences on Sunday, April 23rd and continues until nightfall on Monday, April 24th.
  • Yom Hashoah is an Israeli Festival, as opposed to an ancient Jewish festival. Yom Hashoah was inaugurated sixty years ago in 1953. It was instituted by the Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion and the President Isaac (Yitzchak) Ben Zvi.  The Ancient fast of the Tenth of Tevet (December) is the day on which the siege of Jerusalem commenced, prior to the destruction of the Holy Temple.  Many Jews commemorate the Holocaust on this day.
  • In Israel, on the Eve of Yom Hashoah, a siren is sounded, followed by an official memorial service headed by the Prime Minister, President, Army Officials and Holocaust survivors. The service includes speeches, Kaddish and El Maleh Rahamim (memorial prayers) and the Hatikvah (Israel National Anthem). Another siren is heard in the morning, followed by various memorial services.
  • The date of Yom Hashoah was originally planned to commemorate the Warsaw Uprising (19th April 1943), but was postponed until 27th April due to the clash with the Passover Festival, which commences on  the next day.

Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) Top Events and Things to Do

  • Many communities read a list of those who perished in the camps and Ghettos.  One way to commemorate the Holocaust is to browse the names in the Yad Vashem (Israel’s Memorial to the Holocaust) names Database.
  • Watch the mini-series Holocaust starring Meryl Streep.  It depicts the story of a Jewish family’s struggle to survive the Nazis.
  • Attend a local memorial service.  Tip: find one in your community by doing an internet search for Yom Hashoah.
  • Donate to a charity that serves holocaust survivors or promotes education about the holocaust.
  • Watch a movie about the Holocaust. Some popular picks: Schindler’s List (1993), Auschwitz (2011), The Boy is Striped Pajamas(2008), Life is Beautiful (1997) and The Pianist (2002).


May 2, 2019