Holocaust Remembrance Day, also known as Yom HaShoah takes place on the 27th day during the Hebrew month of Nisan. The word Shoah means catastrophe or utter destruction and refers to the horrendous acts that were done to the Jewish people during World War II. This day is meant to be a memorial for those who died in the Shoah. Another term for Shoah is Holocaust, which gets its origins from a Greek word that means “sacrifice by fire.”
History of Yom HaShoah
Initiated by the National Socialist (Nazi) Party that seized power over Germany in 1933 and believe in racial superiority, believing that those people who had a Northern European ancestry were better than the other races, Jews in particular, who they felt were “unworthy of life.”
The Nazis started restricting the rights of German Jewish citizens and even encouraged their supporters to be violent against and destroy property that belonged to the Jewish people. During World War II, which lasted from 1939-1945, the Nazis unleashed their “final solution,” which was a plan to gather and exterminate all of the European Jews. Crammed together in ghettos as well as slave-labor camps which were a place where disease, malnutrition, and brutality ran wild. As time passed, they were sent to death camps. At these camps, millions of Jewish people were killed in facilities created to kill a large number of people in a short period o time. Two-thirds of the European Jewish population, totaling around six million people were killed along with Roma (Gypsies) and Slavs, anyone who didn’t agree with the political party or had an issue with their religion, the handicapped, as well as gays and lesbians.
Many people will light a yellow candle on Yom HaShoah in order to honor and remember the victims and keep their memories alive. To commemorate the day, many synagogues and Jewish communities will gather their neighbors and mark the day with worship, music, and stories of survival from those who were there.