Holocaust Remembrance Day
Reflections on anti-Semitism
I am writing this post on January 27, 2022, exactly 77 years after the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. A day that the United Nations General Assembly has designated International Holocaust Remembrance Day. A day set apart to “honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism and to develop educational programs to help prevent future genocides.”
My social media feeds are flooded with heartbreaking, poignant photos and posts about ancestors, many of whom did not survive. There are stories about trauma, suffering, and survival. There is much, much sorrow.
There is also ample evidence that anti-Semitism continues to threaten the physical and psychological safety of Jewish people today. It is not a vestige of the past. Friends and acquaintances also post pictures of propaganda they’ve seen blaming Jews for Covid and the vaccine mandates. Another synagogue is targeted by a terrorist. We say never again and yet most people who are not Jewish, myself included, do little to truly confront the rising anti-Semitism in our midst.
Today, I invite you to remember the Holocaust and consider what you can do to ensure that never again truly means never again.
Separating fact from fiction.
During the 2022 International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration on January 26, “survivors reflected on and honored the lives of Europe’s Jews—who were targeted for annihilation—other victims of Nazi persecution, and individuals who chose to help.”
I encourage you to take the time to watch this brief but profound video today. (13.5 minutes.)
I also recommend reading these recent articles in which the authors share their personal experiences of anti-Semitism.
“Why so many people still don’t understand anti-Semitism” by Yari Rosenberg (The Atlantic, January 19, 2022).
“The Bat Mitzvah question I wasn’t expecting: are we safe at synagogue?” by Sarah Wildman (The New York Times, January 23, 2022).
Challenging our understanding, beliefs, or perspectives.
There are many books and films about the Holocaust. Today, I am sharing one of my favourites: What the Night Sings by author and illustrator Vesper Stamper. (I also recommend the accompanying playlist on Spotify.)
For fans of The Book Thief and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas comes a lushly illustrated novel about a teen Holocaust survivor, who must come to terms with who she is and how to rebuild her life.
What stories, films, or other works of art about the Holocaust do you recommend?
Supporting people and organizations bringing about real change in the world.
Want to show your support for International Holocaust Remembrance Day? The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum invites you to share your reflections on social media using #HolocaustRemembranceDay. (They have even put together a Social Media Toolkit you can use.)
As well, Yad Vashem - The World Holocaust Remembrance Center invites you to join the IRemember Wall.
By joining our IRemember Wall, your name will be randomly matched to the name of a Holocaust victim from our Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names, and will appear together on the Wall.
You can also choose a specific name to remember and match with on the Wall from our Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names, which contains over 4.8 million names of Holocaust victims.
I joined last year and will do so again as soon as I publish this post. I will light a candle to commemorate them and all victims of the Shoah.
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