The Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center pays tribute to the memory of Survivors and the victims of the Holocaust and reaffirms our unwavering commitment to honor their legacy.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day
This date marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau by Soviet troops on 27 January 1945. It was officially declared, in November 2005, International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust by the U.N. General Assembly.
Yom Hashoah was inaugurated in 1953 as a day for the citizens of Israel to remember those murdered during the Holocaust. It is scheduled in the Jewish calendar on the 27th of Nisan, which falls in April or May. It marks the beginning of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943 when Jews learned the Germans planned to deport all the people who remained in the Warsaw ghetto to Treblinka. A group of mostly young people formed an organized resistance. The leader of the resistance Mordecai Anielewicz issued a proclamation calling for the Jewish people to resist going to the railroad cars. Finally, in a desperate last stand, the remaining Jewish inhabitants of the walled-in enclave began a hopeless month-long battle against the Nazis. It was the first time during the war that resistance fighters in an area under German control had staged an uprising. It would end in the complete destruction of the ghetto.
All in all, several thousand Jews had been buried in the debris, and more than 56,000 had been captured. About 30,000 of them were either immediately shot or transported to death camps. The remainder were sent to labor camps. Anielewicz said shortly before his death. “My life’s dream has been realized,” he said. “I have lived to see Jewish defense in the ghetto rally its greatness and glory.”
Yom Hashoah may seem similar to International Holocaust Remembrance Day, but they are two distinct events. Yom HaShoah is the Jewish community’s day for internal reflection. It provides an opportunity to educate children; to unite in passing on the torch of remembrance; to honor the victims of the Holocaust, and to recognize the achievements of its survivors and refugees who have given so much to our society.
Kristallnacht is the german word meaning “night of broken glass.” Over a period of 48 hours on November 9th and 10th, 1938, violent mobs, spurred by antisemitic exhortations from Nazi officials, destroyed hundreds of synagogues, burning or desecrating Jewish religious artifacts along the way.
Acting on orders from Gestapo headquarters, police officers and firefighters did nothing to prevent the destruction. All told, approximately 7,500 Jewish-owned businesses, homes, and schools were plundered, and 91 Jews were murdered. An additional 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Nazi officials immediately claimed that the Jews themselves were to blame for the riots, and a fine of one billion reichsmarks (about $400 million at 1938 rates) was imposed on the German Jewish community.
Kristallnacht is regarded an essential turning point in Nazi Germany’s persecution of Jews and stands as a reminder of the importance of standing up against all forms of prejudice and hate.
That terrifying night marks the beginning of Hitler’s ‘Final Solution.” It was the moment that should have erased any doubt about Hitler’s intentions. Jewish lives were in jeopardy, and clearly there would be further tragedy. Yet, the world stood by in silence.