The Holocaust (also called Ha-Shoah in Hebrew), was a genocide in which six million Jews were killed and destruction of Jewish communities in 1941 to 1945 by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany and their accomplices. The victims included 1.5 million children, and represented about two-thirds of the nine million Jews who had resided in Europe.
On Monday in Israel, sirens wailed nonstop for two minutes and time literally stops for everything. Vehicles on the highways and roads come to a halt and people get out of their cars to stand with their heads bowed in silence. This is one way the nation remembers the Jewish lives lost in the Holocaust.
Delegates from 11 European nations and over 10,000 people from around the world have participated the International March of the Living which started since 1988, and continued their commitment to the Holocaust Commemoration that took place every year.
Among the six million Jews that were killed, only 4.7 million were identified thanks to the efforts the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial has made since 1954. The focus of the recent Commemoration is on bolstering that count before it’s too late.
“Every name is very important to us,” says Dr Alexander Avram, director of Yad Vashem’s Hall of Names and the Central Database of Shoah [Holocaust] Victims’ Names.
“Every new name we can add to our database is a victory against the Nazis, against the intent of the Nazis to wipe out the Jewish people. Every new name is a small victory against oblivion,” he added.
The BBC noted Holocaust Remembrance Day by following one 89-year-old lady as she filled out a “Page of Testimony” that will add the name of her father. Giselle Cycowicz (born Friedman) remembers her father, Wolf, as a warm, kind and religious man. “He was a scholar,” she says.
Giselle remembers that her father was chosen for a workforce and that she was not allowed to hug and kiss her father, “That would have been my chance to maybe kiss him the last time,” she told the BBC.
President Trump said in a video address to the World Jewish Congress Plenary Assembly in New York, “We mourn, we remember, we pray, and we pledge: ‘Never again.’
Remembering those unnamed victims took center stage this year in Israel as another Holocaust Remembrance Day passed. And it’s a reminder that time is getting shorter for witnesses to step forward and add another name to the list before it’s too late, because, we must never forget.