Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom HaShoah (meaning “Day of the Catastrophe”), has taken place every year on the 27th of Nisan since its inception in 1951. At 10:00 AM local time in Israel, everything comes to a stop as a siren is heard all over the country. Motorists literally stop in the middle of the road and observe two minutes of silence. It is both eerie and poignant.
This year more than ever we need to remember what took place in Nazi Germany almost eighty years ago:
- At a time when Israel is falsely accused of ethnic cleansing in their very own land, we must remember the days when Jews were almost eradicated from the face of the earth.
- At a time when it is becoming more and more dangerous to be Jewish anywhere in the world (except Israel), we must remember those who died simply because they were Jewish.
- At a time when worshipping in a synagogue could end in a lethal terror attack, we must remember the victims of Pittsburgh, San Diego, and all other houses of worship around the globe.
- At a time when the world is pushing for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, we must remember the Kristallnacht attack of 1938, which targeted Jewish property, houses of worship, and persons. BDS reminds that there is nothing new under the sun.
- At a time when the United States Congress has been infiltrated with a new generation of antisemitic representatives, we must remember when Jewish people did not have a voice in government.
- At a time when a mainstream American newspaper publishes yet another virulently antisemitic cartoon, we must remember that two thousand years of anti-Jewish caricatures led to thousands of wrongful deaths.
- At a time when two-thirds of millennials do not know what Auschwitz is, we must remember the motto, “NEVER AGAIN.”
- At a time when antisemitism is becoming the new normal around the world, we must remember the words of 18th century philosopher and political theorist, Edmund Burke, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil, is that good men do nothing.”
- And finally, at a time when much of the world would rather not talk about the Holocaust, undermine its tragic outcome, or worse, pretend it never happened, we must remember it, lest it happens again. Nobody cares about something they forgot, do not know about, or believe never took place. Historical revisionism is akin to mentally time-traveling to the past in hopes of erasing a problematic, uncomfortable part of history. But we cannot erase the past—we must learn from it, as painful as it is. There is an increasing numbness to the rise of the new antisemitism that should send chills down the spine of all people of good will.
This year, Holocaust Remembrance Day coincides with the National Day of Prayer on May 2, 2019. Wherever we are located, I would encourage us all to take a pause in our busy day and pray for the remaining family members of the six million and to the memory of those same victims, as well as for the families of those who lost loved ones in the Pittsburgh and San Diego synagogue shootings. Keep in mind that if we were to have one minute of silence for all the victims of the Holocaust, it would require us to be silent for over eleven consecutive years!
We can all spend two minutes to remember the Holocaust, but we should all spend the rest of the year to fight those who try to undermine it, ridicule it, or erase it from history! The future of many Jewish people could depend on our involvement!
 Julie Zauzmer, “Holocaust Study: Two-Thirds of Millennials Don’t Know What Auschwitz Is,” The Washington Post, accessed May 2, 2019, https://wapo.st/2qrblgJ?tid=ss_mail&utm_term=.57fc9b5f501c