HOLOCAUST Memorial Day 27.1.


The photo is part of The Names at the Yad Vashem* Museum in Jerusalem by me.

January 27, aka today is the annual official day for the remembrance of the victims of the Nazi-era worldwide and here is the what the UN has decreed on the same:

“International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27) is an annual international day of remembrance designated by an official resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on November 1, 2005.

The resolution urges every member nation to honor the memory of Holocaust victims and encourages the development of educational programs about Holocaust history as part of the resolve to help prevent future acts of genocide.

“There can be no reversing the unique tragedy of the Holocaust. It must be remembered, with shame and horror, for as long as human memory continues. Only by remembering can we pay fitting tribute to the victims. Millions of innocent Jews and members of other minorities were murdered in the most barbarous ways imaginable. We must never forget those men, women and children, or their agony.” — United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, January 27, 2006. (Wikipedia)

I was wondering as to ’why’ this day of January 27, until I realized that this is the day that the Soviets entered/liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camps in 1945 where some 1,1 to 1,6 million people perished; 90 per cent of them Jews. My dad visited these camps about five to ten years later after the events and his comments were ‘that it still did smell very nauseatingly of burned flesh’ – amazing when one thinks of the time-lapse. He also had black and white photographs of the ovens, the barracks, the imposing entrance at Birkenau and generally of the camps. I did find these pictures very haunting to look at, by the way.

A further quote off Wikipedia:

“…about three-quarters of the total, went to the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau within a few hours; they included all children, all women with children, all the elderly, and all those who appeared on brief and superficial inspection by an SS doctor not to be fully fit.In the Auschwitz Birkenau camp more than 20,000 people could be gassed and cremated each day. At Birkenau, the Nazis used a cyanide gas produced from Zyklon B pellets, which were manufactured by two companies who had acquired licensing rights to the patent held by IG Farben….
At the Auschwitz complex 405,000 prisoners were recorded as slaves between 1940 and 1945. Of these about 340,000 perished through executions, beatings, starvation, and sickness. Some prisoners survived through the help of German industrialist Oskar Schindler, who saved about 1,100 Polish Jews by diverting them from Auschwitz to work for him, first in his factory near Kraków and later at a factory in what is now the Czech Republic.”

In my entry on Amsterdam some time back, I mentioned that I visited the Anne Frank House Museum and this is what I said then: ”The horror of the Nazi era came alive in the Anne Frank House where we spent hours looking, thinking and going from room to room in the Annex as it still looks like it was when the people and Anne herself were hiding in there. The bookshelf – so familiar from the book of Anne’s, ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ – is still there…”

In Israel, the day for the Holocaust Remembrance, Yom HaShoah, is in the spring which I have witnessed there myself for a few times; the Wikipedia puts it like this:

“On the eve of Yom HaShoah in Israel, there is a state ceremony at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes Authority. At 10:00am on Yom HaShoah, throughout Israel, air-raid sirens are sounded for two minutes. Public transport (including virtually all highway vehicles) comes to a standstill for this period, and people stop and stand silent. During Yom HaShoah, public entertainment and many public establishments in Israel are closed by law. Israeli television and radio channels broadcast mourning songs and documentaries about the Holocaust, without commercials. All flags on public buildings are flown at half mast.

Also during this day, tens of thousands of Israeli high-school students, and thousands of Jews from around the world, hold a memorial service in Auschwitz, in what became known as “The March of the Living“, in defiance of the Holocaust Death Marches.”

Additional information: Oliver Lustig’s Presentation of Historic Holocaust Photograps @ I Survived.org/ Holocaust Remembrance Network.

Tis for now. Riihele xx

Holocaust; the literal meaning of the word is: Completely burnt.
The Holocaust
(from the Greek ὁλόκαυστον (holókauston): holos, “completely” and kaustos, “burnt”).

* YAD VASHEM: The origin of the name is from a Biblical verse:

“And to them will I give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name … that shall not be cut off.” (Isaiah, chapter 56, verse 5) In Hebrew, “a memorial and a name” translates as yad va-shem. A literal translation would be “hand and name.” (Wikipedia)

(Re-entry.)

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Moment of VAN GOGH: SUNFLOWERS

“You may know that the peony is Jeannin’s, the hollyhock belongs to Quost, but the sunflower is mine in a way.”

Vincent van Gogh
(written in a letter to his brother Theo)

Vincent van Gogh was a great painter. I did not really like his work until I went to the museum bearing his name in Amsterdam where his work is displayed and saw with my own eyes the mastery of his paintings and read many of his letters to his brother, Theo.

Yellow and Sunny

The Sunflower paintings of Vincent Van Gogh show a mental connection not only between the artist’s name and the painting, but also between the artist and the influence of Sunflowers on the development of art through these paintings. Van Gogh’s Sunflower paintings have altered mankind’s perspective of art and life. (Van Gogh Gallery site)

Full of golden yellow

Did you know that Europe and the USSR produce over 60% of the world’s Sunflowers. Sunflowers make up the genus Helianthus. In Greek helios means sun and anthos means flower, thus Sunflower. The genus, which contains about 67 species, is thought to be native to the Americas (North, South) originally, and were domesticated around 1000 B.C. Although, Sunflowers are now distributed almost worldwide. (Sunflower Plant, Care, Growing site)

Opening up

Sunflower is the national flower of Russia and the state flower of Kansas, USA. Sunflower is notable for turning to face the Sun, a behaviour known as heliotropism. Sunflowers were cultivated by Native Americans well over 1000 years ago. Sunflower heads consist of 1,000 to 2,000 individual flowers joined together by a receptacle base. The large petals around the edge of a sunflower head are individual ray flowers which do not develop into seed. Sunflower seeds have lots of calcium and 11 other important minerals. They do have 50% fat, but it is mostly polyunsaturated linoleic acid.

Sunflowers can be eaten, would you believe? The flower is best eaten in the bud stage when it tastes similar to artichokes. Once the flower opens, the petals may be used like chrysanthemums, the flavour is distinctly bittersweet. The unopened flower buds can also be steamed like artichokes. (New Hampshire Magazine online)

Yellow and Sunny

“We spend our whole lives in unconscious exercise of
the art of expressing our thoughts with the help of words.”

Vincent van Gogh
(New York Times online article has more on this)

Weather is such at present that we in Finland need reminders of the sun in the form of SUNFLOWERS!

Tis for now, Rii xx

Photos: Riihele. All rights reserved.

A great site for all things Vincent van Gogh.

LEST WE FORGET…

YADVASHEM

January 27, was the annual official day for the remembrance of the victims of the Nazi-era worldwide and here is the what the UN has decreed on the same:

“International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27) is an annual international day of remembrance designated by an official resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on November 1, 2005.

The resolution urges every member nation to honor the memory of Holocaust victims and encourages the development of educational programs about Holocaust history as part of the resolve to help prevent future acts of genocide. There can be no reversing the unique tragedy of the Holocaust. It must be remembered, with shame and horror, for as long as human memory continues. Only by remembering can we pay fitting tribute to the victims. Millions of innocent Jews and members of other minorities were murdered in the most barbarous ways imaginable. We must never forget those men, women and children, or their agony.” — United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, January 27, 2006. (Wikipedia)

I was wondering as to ’why’ this day of January 27, until I realized that this is the day that the Soviets entered/liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camps in 1945 where some 1,1 to 1,6 million people perished; 90 per cent of them Jews. My dad visited these camps about five to ten years later after the events and his comments were ‘that it still did smell very nauseatingly of burned flesh’ – amazing when one thinks of the time-lapse. He also had black and white photographs of the ovens, the barracks, the imposing entrance at Birkenau and generally of the camps. I did find these pictures very haunting to look at, by the way.

A further quote off Wikipedia:

“…about three-quarters of the total, went to the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau within a few hours; they included all children, all women with children, all the elderly, and all those who appeared on brief and superficial inspection by an SS doctor not to be fully fit.

In the Auschwitz Birkenau camp more than 20,000 people could be gassed and cremated each day. At Birkenau, the Nazis used a cyanide gas produced from Zyklon B pellets, which were manufactured by two companies who had acquired licensing rights to the patent held by IG Farben….

At the Auschwitz complex 405,000 prisoners were recorded as slaves between 1940 and 1945. Of these about 340,000 perished through executions, beatings, starvation, and sickness. Some prisoners survived through the help of German industrialist Oskar Schindler, who saved about 1,100 Polish Jews by diverting them from Auschwitz to work for him, first in his factory near Kraków and later at a factory in what is now the Czech Republic.”

In my entry on Amsterdam, some time back, I mentioned that I visited the Anne Frank House Museum and this is what I said then: The horror of the Nazi era came alive in the Anne Frank House where we spent hours looking, thinking and going from room to room in the Annex as it still looks like it was when the people and Anne herself were hiding in there. The bookshelf – so familiar from the book of Anne’s, ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ – is still there…”

In Israel the day for the Holocaust Remembrance, Yom HaShoah, is in the spring which I have witnessed myself for a few times; this year it is on April 16; the Wikipedia puts it like this:

“On the eve of Yom HaShoah in Israel, there is a state ceremony at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes Authority. At 10:00am on Yom HaShoah, throughout Israel, air-raid sirens are sounded for two minutes. Public transport (including virtually all highway vehicles) comes to a standstill for this period, and people stop and stand silent. During Yom HaShoah, public entertainment and many public establishments in Israel are closed by law. Israeli television and radio channels broadcast mourning songs and documentaries about the Holocaust, without commercials. All flags on public buildings are flown at half mast.

Also during this day, tens of thousands of Israeli high-school students, and thousands of Jews from around the world, hold a memorial service in Auschwitz, in what became known as “The March of the Living“, in defiance of the Holocaust Death Marches.”

Additional information: Oliver Lustig’s Presentation at I Survived.org, Holocaust Remembrance Network.

Tis for now. Riihele xx

Photo is part of The Names at the Yad Vashem* Museum in Jerusalem by me.

*The origin of the name is from a Biblical verse: “And to them will I give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name … that shall not be cut off.” (Isaiah, chapter 56, verse 5) In Hebrew, “a memorial and a name” translates as yad va-shem. A literal translation would be “hand and name.” (Wikipedia)

Travels: Amsterdam

TULIPSFROMAMST

“A mouse lived in a windmill in old Amsterdam
A windmill with a mouse in and he wasn’t grousin’
He sang every morning “How lucky I am
Living in a windmill in old Amsterdam”.

CHORUS

I saw a mouse – where? There on the stair
Where on the stair? Right there
A little mouse with clogs on – well, I declare
Going clip-clippety-clop on the stair – oh yeah…

“WINDMILL IN OLD AMSTERDAM” (Dicks / Rudge)
sung by Ronnie Hilton *
Taken from the Music Enquires, Music Questions, Music Queries online

Aaahh, tulips from Amsterdam!! Amsterdam is a city of dykes and waterways. A city where the easiest and possibly the best way to see the places and to get the feel of the city is just by walking or perhaps renting a bike. The city has an excellent system of the trams as well. I and himself, occasionally took the trams; but mostly, we walked, walked and walked our feet off, it felt like.

The hotel where we stayed was right at the heart of the best shopping streets at the time. The shops had the most beautiful and, also, extremely expensive goods for sale, anyway, in that district where we stayed. It was fun to look at what exactly was on offer, but as to buying anything much, no way in those prices. I do not remember what I did get there but I do recall the fabulous ice-creams that were sold in a store in the street we stayed in. Twas Cinnamon Ice-cream. Delicious. The first and only time that this kind of ice-cream was anywhere to buy where I have been in. I have made it since myself, though.

The highlight for me was the visits to the museums such as The Rijksmuseum, The Van Gogh Museum and The Anne Frank House. I had so looked forward to being able to see the Rembrandt paintings in real life, but when I saw and read more about the man himself, I became rather disappointed. The man had a plum-life as a court painter. The most famous painting of Rembrandt is possibly ‘The Night Watch‘ – well, would you believe that what one is shown, normally, of that painting is only a minute fraction of the whole thing! The painting in its full size is absolutely enormous.

Vincent Van Gogh had not been one my favourites before this trip – but he became after it! I spent hours in the museum reading his letters – displayed in the glass cabinets, yet easy to see – to his brother Theo and some other people as well. The paintings of his really came to life and felt more interesting with that background of his descriptive letters of them.

The horror of the Nazi era came alive in the Anne Frank House where we spent hours looking, thinking and going from room to room in the Annex as it still looks like it was when the people and Anne herself were hiding in there. The bookshelf – so familiar from the book of Anne’s, ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ – is still there…

Vermeer and Monet are my very top favourite painters of all time. Vermeer’s style of painting is to me, really, very modern in the way that it looks rather like photographing with its sharp and stark contrasts between the dark and the light. The colours are strong and vibrant, so pleasing to look at. I was very impressed by his paintings in the ‘real’ – well, the way one is allowed to admire them in the museum.’The Milkmaid‘ is, perhaps, Vermeer’s most well-known painting.

The streets, like the Prinsengracht, where the Anne Frank House is located and the Herrengracht, are another site as they go over the dykes in a semicircle. The houses are high and so narrow that one nearly gets the feeling that one has to move about in the houses sideways!! They are kept in spick and span- order. Order, really, is the word of the northern regions of the world. Everything has its place and purpose. That is the way that the business of any sort thrives in, of course. The creativity and the like, often, suffocates.

The food was not expensive and it was soo delicious, especially, the Rijsttafel – akin to the Middle Eastern Mezes and the Spanish Tapas – yet distinctively Indonesian in its style and taste. We ate these ‘rice tables’, that is the literal translation of the word, several times and always, always twas outstanding and reasonable in cost. ‘Yum’, said my tum!

The Dutch language, I found to my great surprise, was one that I could understand after a while quite well, both in spoken as in TV and written forms as in the newspapers. It is related to German and having also Swedish and English helped to get the ‘lingo’. Everywhere I was addressed to in Nederlands – that is the Dutch language in Dutch – as people were thinking that I was Dutch! It was nice not to be taught as an alien but a part of the scenery… Yes, I liked it very much, indeed.

Tis for this travel for now – until the next posting. Riihele xx.

* He was one of Britains most popular singers in the 1950s.