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:
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)