"The Human Spirit in the Shadow of Death" – Yad Vashem
Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day begins this year on Monday evening, April 24, 2006 and continues on Tuesday, April 25.
Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah in Hebrew) is a national day of commemoration in Israel, on which the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust are memorialized. It is a solemn day, beginning at sunset on the 27th of the month of Nisan and ending the following evening, according to the traditional Jewish custom of marking a day. Places of entertainment are closed and memorial ceremonies are held throughout the country.
The central ceremonies, in the evening and the following morning, are held at Yad Vashem and are broadcast on the television. Marking the start of the day, in the presence of the President of the State of Israel and the Prime Minister, dignitaries, survivors, children of survivors and their families, gather together with the general public to take part in the memorial ceremony at Yad Vashem in which six torches, representing the six million murdered Jews, are lit. The following morning, the ceremony at Yad Vashem begins with the sounding of a siren for two minutes throughout the entire country. For the duration of the sounding, work is halted, people walking in the streets stop, cars pull off to the side of the road and everybody stands at silent attention in reverence to the victims of the Holocaust.
The world-wide Holocaust memorial project, “Unto Every Person There is a Name”, now in its seventeenth consecutive year, is a unique project designed to perpetuate their memory as individuals and restore their identity and dignity, through the public recitation of their names on Yom Hashoah. By personalizing the individual tragedies of the Jewish victims of Nazi Germany and its collaborators, this project counters persistent attempts to universalize the message of the Holocaust and cast off its principal characteristic as a unique calamity of Jewish people. “Unto Every Person There is a Name” also builds appreciation of the Shoah’s continuing impact on the Jewish reality today, and helps to frustrate continued efforts by Holocaust deniers to present the Holocaust as a hoax.
Other sites of remembrance in Israel, such as the Ghetto Fighters’ Kibbutz and Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, also host memorial ceremonies, as do schools, military bases, municipalities and places of work.
Yad Vashem also urges the public to submit Pages of Testimony in memory of victims of the Shoah that have not yet been memorialized in the Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names. Names may be submitted online at www.yadvashem.org, where the Names Database is accessible in Hebrew, English and Russian.