Yom HaShoah and Shabbat Shalom – Two significant days, one hallowed and one holy. A powerful way to acknowledge, remember and memorialize Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Holocaust Remembrance Day corresponds to the 27th day of the Nisan on the Hebrew calendar. Yom HaShoah, which commemorates the millions of Jewish victims of the Holocaust, was established by the Israeli parliament in 1951 – marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
Eight Holocaust Memorials around the United States and the world represent only a fraction of the statues, museums, exhibits, and gardens honoring the six million Jews mercilessly killed along with the millions of other victims such as people with disabilities, the Romani people, Jehovah’s Witnesses, LGBTQ, and others also ruthlessly murdered at the hands of the demonic and vile Nazis with a hateful and reprobate mindset of Nazism, Anti-Semitism, and White Supremacy.
The Holocaust is most prominently marked and memorialized at places like Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, and Dachau. Additionally, “more than one-third of the 6 million Jewish victims were executed in the fields, forests, and ravines of the former Soviet Union and other countries of central Europe.” These too are the stories we also remember.
Today, take time and a moment of silence for six minutes, and reflect on the six million innocent people who lost their lives to evil, but their spirits remain alive in our hearts. At the same time, you pray or meditate, rabbis, spiritual leaders, and other leaders around the world will also pray, and light six torches or candles. In Israel, a siren sounds off. Shops, restaurants, cinemas, and entertainment facilities are closed.
For those who choose not to pray, all of us have the opportunity to make sure our children and youth are educated about the Holocaust and why all must say #WEREMEMBER “Never Forget!” “Never Again!”
What is important is to educate our residents and people we encounter about holocausts that have happened throughout history. We must share how crimes against humanity can happen again if we do not actively advocate and fight against violence and hate of this magnitude.
In the words of the late Simon Wiesenthal, a survivor of the Nazi death camps who dedicated his life to documenting the crimes of the Holocaust and to hunting down the perpetrators still at large. He said, “For your benefit, learn from our tragedy. It is not a written law that the next victims must be Jews. It can also be other people. We saw it begin in Germany with Jews, but people from more than twenty other nations were also murdered.”
I ask you to join me and become a part of the #ProtectTheFacts campaign. Let’s increase our awareness of Holocaust distortion. In the same way, we must call out racism when we witness it, hear, or experience it inclusive of righting the wrongs due to distorted facts, we must identify and counter Holocaust distortion in society and on social media.
Anti-Semitism, white supremacy, and racism are mindsets we must work to destroy. Deconstructing how we talk, the use of our words to describe and depict, the “Words that Kill,” led to the extermination of millions. The words we use alienate destroy and sadly kill when we utter and contain thinking that is destructive to society.
Let Holocaust Remembrance Day, not be just any day, but the day to become better people in how we treat one another. Let us become truly educated about hate and do what we must to be accountable to each other for what is just, right, and good.
Suzette DeBeatham-Brown is a Member of the Bloomfield Town Council and was the town’s first Black mayor.