Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Yom HaShoah

Shoah is the Hebrew word for whirlwind or destruction and has come to be the word which describes the Holocaust of European Jewry from 1933 to 1945. This date was established in Israel in 1951 as a day of remembrance for all the Jews, approximately six million, who were murdered during the Holocaust by the Nazis.

Within the vast horror of the icy cold number ”six million” are individuals: men, women, children, babies, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, grandparents, families, friends, neighbors, citizens, laborers, rabbis. Every single person had a life; a past, a present and a future destroyed.

We were first told to undress
clothes on one side, shoes on other
then we entered the room,
naked as the day of our birth.
It was here that we were given a number
and heard the Konzentrationlagerfuehrer 
[Concentration Camp Commandant] say:
“From this day forth, you are all numbers.
You no longer have names.
You have no identities.
You have no nationalities.
All you have is your number,
and besides your number,
you have nothing at all.”

- Excerpt from the diary of Jacob, age 17

During the remembrance services on Yom HaShoah names of the dead are read along with this poem:

Unto Every Person There is a Name

Unto every person there is a name
bestowed on him by God
and given to him by his parents.

Unto every person there is a name
accorded him by his stature
and type of smile
and style of dress.

Unto every person there is a name
conferred by the mountains
and the walls which surround him.

Unto every person there is a name
granted him by Fortune's wheel
or that which neighbors call him.

Unto every person there is a name
assigned him by his failings
or contributed by his yearnings.

Unto every person there is a name
given to him by his enemies
or by his love.

Unto every person there is a name
derived from his celebrations
and his occupation.

Unto every person there is a name
presented him by the seasons
and his blindness.

Unto every person there is a name
which he receives from the sea
and is given to him by his death.

- Zelda (Zelda Schneersohn Mishkovsky, 1914 - 1984)

May we always remember.
May we never forget.

Wikipedia Article on Yom HaShoah
The Israeli Knesset on Yom HaShoah
Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Memorial
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum


Anonymous said...

I have goosebumps..

Ronnie x

dancingmorganmouse said...

I join Ronnie in her goose-bump-ery.
Even today I'm still knocked flying by the inhumanity of the human race.

Wendy said...

sometimes I really do think that I am not cut out to live in this inhumane world.
thanks for reminding us to never forget

Pink Granite said...

Hi All -
The inhumanity to our fellow man is shocking and horrifying. Sadly, while the scale of the Holocaust was staggering, cruelty and evil still abound.
Thank you for reading and commenting.
- Lee