Yom HaShoah


Yom HaShoah is Holocaust Remembrance Day. 

Today we remember the precious souls both Jewish and Gentile that perished during the Holocaust.  There are really no words to describe what a horrific event in history it was not to mention one of the worst events in humanity.

Not only in Germany and Poland, but it was also in France. Hence the patch worn by French Jews stating the French "Juif" (Jew)

One need not necessarily to have had family in Europe during that time to realize what a tragic event took place.  I personally fall under that category and the wake up call came to me during my Paris trip of 2006.  I had left the Gare Du Nord station headed to Antwerp, Belgium to visit some friends when the multi-lingual announcements came: French, English, Dutch.  When the German announcement was made, it was the creepiest feeling I had felt in a long time.


I have been told stories of youth who have participated on the Poland / Birthright trip who have visited the camps and their experiences.  They saw the gas chambers and the crematoriums that were preserved to educate.  They seriously wanted to leave as it was truly traumatic just by being present.

Even though I personally did not have any family in Europe during this period of time, I do know survivors and have friends with survivors in their families.  They are living proof that this event in history is not a made up conspiracy and I personally question the mental stability of anyone who denies that this tragedy in history took place.

How could any human being go through so much suffering?  The death marches, the hospital experiments, the starvation and non-stop labor in the coldest of temperatures, the beatings, the burnings, and the list goes on.  For any human being to endure that much suffering on that intense of a level, well, is beyond human.  Perhaps, angelic.  I will say for those who did survive, it has not only affected them, but continuing generations in some cases past that.  For those who didn’t survive, well, pictures speak a thousand words that could never be spoken by the souls who did not make it.

Passover, the holiday that just “passed over”  is the festival of redemption.  Of liberation.  Most important of all, to educate.  This is why the youngest at the seder table asks the Four Questions and recounts the story of The Exodus.  Educating the world by doing our part so that even worse events like this should never rise again.


Leaflet from Holland depicting the Dutch resistance against the Nazis.

The entrance to the Auschwitz death camp. The German sign reads, "Work Makes You Free" Well, in some rare cases. Photo courtesy of Hatikvah

There is liberation, hope, education, and most of all, a future. Photo courtesy of HaTikvah.

And most of all, protect what is right by using our




9 thoughts on “Yom HaShoah

  1. Jeremy, Thank you for the remembrance. When I was 13, sitting in my history class, I had a professor show a movie of the Holocaust. I remember looking at my good friend who was Jewish. My father’s side of my family are German. She had a tear. I had a tear. I reached out and touched her hand. Each pain in our own way. What her family underwent. The atrocities that my ancestors could have been part of. Years later when I flew to Israel and went through the children’s museum the pain was felt and heard in their cries. Years later as I walked through Anne Frank’s house, the sorrow overwhelmed me. I could feel their souls in the air. It took everything to not cry for all the pain and suffering.

    Message to your readers: Always be afraid of large groups of stupid people. Don’t follow. Stand your ground. If something doesn’t feel right… it isn’t. Fight it. Change it. This is a reminder of the ability of human souls going astray. We must always work toward what’s right.

    • Jeremy, thank you for posting this. I am sure my living grandparents who experienced the Holocaust will be pleased with what you wrote! I will be showing them this article.

      Karlene, I love what you wrote in your comment. Its a small world. Jews are one of the smallest people (if not, the smallest) in the whole world, especially after the Holocaust, yet your good friend was Jewish! Its really beautiful to see people like yourself acknowledge the unfortunate events in the Holocaust. I use the word Beautiful because I have unfortunately seen people who pretend or act as if it never happened.
      I am happy to hear you have been to Israel. I am sure your experience there was one you will never forget, as Israel is the Land o freedom and equality for everyone.

      Having spent time with my fathers mother who experienced the Holocaust first hand, we’ve watched Holocaust movies together and after almost everytime the movie ends, my grandma would say “you can watch all the movies regarding the Holocaust and feel remorse and anger, but you can not understand from a movie what I and millions of others went through”.

      May we only hear and celebrate good tidings together and may peace find its way into nowadays!

      -Natan Hoffmann

      • Natan, thank you for stopping by and sharing your insight of how you watched movies with your paternal grandmother. I could never and would never nor want to ever imagine what she experienced first hand and would not wish it on any mortal soul. It is true that we are a very small people, yet I see such beauty in that for some inexplicable reason. Perhaps, we are strong because we are so small and united in the cause? To your last statement – Ameyn!

      • Natan, it is a small world. I think that those people who cannot acknowledge it do not want to acknowledge it because maybe it’s too painful and ugly for them to comprehend. It’s easier to live in denial. But easy is not best.
        I agree with your grandmother, we will never know and understand what they went through. Yes… time to celebrate good tidings together with peace for everyone.

    • Karlene, thank you so much for sharing your insight. I really was touched by your experience during your history class with your friend. Believe it or not, I have yet to travel to Israel, however, when I do, I plan on visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum as the only Holocaust museum I have visited thus far was in Detroit. I wish to also thank you for sharing your very important message. It is unfortunate that there are large groups of stupid people out there to this date to which we have to be very cautious of. The good thing is we know where we stand and we do have the power to fight and change for what is right. That is why it is so crucial that education of these events be known so history doesn’t repeat itself, God forbid.

      • So true on the education. I was fortunate to have a teacher willing to teach this. There are many schools that don’t. It all starts with our children… educate so they do not repeat the atrocities of their ancestors.

  2. Jeremy, thank you for sharing this. Remembrance is important, because if it’s forgotten, it can reoccur. Norway was occupied by the Nazis during WWII,and Norwegian Jews were sent to the labor camps. But not only Jews, as we know. My great-uncle Robert was sent to one of the labor camps in Norway (yes we had that too) awaiting to go to one of the camps in Poland/Germany. He wasn’t Jewish. But he was born in the US and was a US citizen. That’s why they locked him up. The war ended before they moved him and he was a free man.

    Reading stories from the Holocaust, listening to people who have been involved, and people still doubt it is a part of history? Someone needs some enlightenment..

    I am going to DC next month, and I’ll be visiting the Holocaust museum there. Like Karlene, I’ve also been to Anne Frank house in Amsterdam, and I’ve also read her diary. Truly gripping experience.

    When the past is getting farther away from the present, it can be hard to comprehend. May the Holocaust never happen again, but let us remember it, learn of it, talk about it, so that we understand how horrible it was.

    • Cecilie, Well said!
      I’m also glad that turned out well or your great uncle. Timing is everything in life changing moments.

    • Cecilie, wow an amazing story about your great uncle Robert. Thank goodness the war ended just in time. It really didn’t matter who you were. If you were not apart of the nazi party or adhered to their ideology, you were locked up. I am very excited that the Holocaust museum (along with the Smithsonian, I hope?) will be on your itinerary. I hear that it is powerful if not just as powerful as the Yad VaShem in Israel. Also, I have been in Amsterdam twice on long layovers and have yet to visit the Anne Frank Huis along with the Spanish-Portuguese synagogue. Two places I need to get to and quick, Seattle and Amsterdam/Europe.

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