International Holocaust Remembrance Day is April 12, and there are events this week and through the month in in observance of Yom HaShoah, honoring the six million souls lost in Europe’s WWII concentration camps and Jewish ghettos.
Most events are FREE and virtual to attend.
Holocaust Rememrance events are important also because we must never forget also that we must work together to prevent and stop genocide anywhere in the world, whether it’s against Jews in Europe, Uighars in China or Rohingya in Myanmar.
And that Black Lives Matter, and that Asian lives matter.
Here is a calendar of Holocaust Remembrance events this week and this month.
Wednesday, April 7
Thursday, April 8
Invisible Years: From Separation to Survival
In this special Yom HaShoah event with My Jewish Learning, hear the breathtaking and inspiring stories of nine family members from two generations, who lived in the Netherlands during Nazi occupation and eventually had to go into hiding, separately.
Learn how they were slowly restricted from public life, and discover how they survived imminent danger—in attics, under floorboards, and in plain sight.
Daphne Geismar, author of Invisible Years, and Sharon Strauss brings their family to life through interwoven voices and powerful imagery.
- FREE, Thursday, April 8 at 1pm ET/10am PT
- Register here for the Zoom link.
Friday, April 9
Abe Foxman: Never Again
For Abraham Foxman, Yom HaShoah — Holocaust Remembrance Day — is neither an abstraction nor a day of mourning for relatives he never met. In 1941, when he was just an infant, his parents were forced into a Vilna ghetto and turned him over to a Polish nurse for safekeeping. Instead, she baptized him a Catholic, taught him to hate Jews and refused to return him when his parents emerged at the end of World War II.
Never again is part of Abe Foxman’s DNA.
He went on to spend three decades as America’s top cop on the anti-Semitism beat.
As National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, he answered every threat, every demeaning remark, every whiff of prejudice by wielding his rhetorical cudgel to call out and catalog the danger. Actors and politicians, entertainers, pundits and religious leaders.
No one was immune to Foxman’s biting criticism as he trumpeted the increasingly alarming statistics about the rise of hate crimes and warned of the dangers of politicizing anti-Semitism.
As we mark Yom HaShoah, Temple Emanu-El is honored to welcome Mr. Foxman, now VP of the Board at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, to talk about his life, his life’s work and about keeping Jews and Judaism alive.
- 6:00 PM EDT | Free
- Register here for the Zoom link
Sunday, April 11
Annual Gathering of Remembrance
The Annual Gathering of Remembrance, New York’s largest Holocaust commemoration event, is at Temple Emanu-el.
Once again this year, the Annual Gathering of Remembrance is virtual. It’s always free to attend.
The remembrance event includes songs from many of the countries of Europe which suffered the most under the Nazis, brief statements from elderly survivors and the lighting of memorial candles by survivors and their decendants.
Last year more than 45,000 people attended the ceremony virtually, including elderly Holocaust survivors now scattered throughout the world and too frail to attend.
It’s the largest of a month of Holocaust remembrance events in NYC, most of them also virtual.
Featured speakers include Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer ; Elisha Wiesel, son of the late Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel; and Holocaust survivor Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer.
All four have deep connections to NYC – Emhoff grew up here, Schumer is the US Senator from NY, who grew up in Brooklyn, and Dr. Ruth has lived in Washington Heights/Inwood for decades (where NYCOTC publisher Evelyn Kanter grew up), and Elisha Wiesel grew up in Manhattan and worked on Wall St. before devoting his time to philanthropy.
The Gathering of Remembrance Holocaust commemoration is 2pm to 4pm, via Zoom.
Sign up here for free tickets to this always moving event.
Sunday, April 18
Remembrance of the Rwanda Genocide Kwibuka 27
This annual event unites survivors of the Holocaust and the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda to commemorate Yom HaShoah and Kwibuka 27.
As they discuss memory, healing, and the role educating the next generation has played in their relationship with trauma.
Survivors Celine Uwineza (Kigali) and Maritza Shelley (New York) invite us to find common ground between communities that have survived genocide.
This event is presented in partnership with The Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village and the Genocide Survivors Foundation.
Sign up here for free tickets to this Zoom event, 2pm to 4pm.
Both programs are co-sponsored by the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park, which the important exhibit on Auschwitz closes soon.
For the first time in America, a traveling exhibition about Auschwitz featuring over 700 original artifacts from more than 20 international institutions, some never shown before publicly. It is the largest exhibition about the horrible things that happened not long ago, not far away.
Many of the items have never been displayed before in North America.
Some come from the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, on the site of the old death camp, which was visited by more than two million people every year in pre-Pandemic days.
Some artifacts and photos are some from the Museum of Jewish Heritage, which has received thousands of donated items by Holocaust survivors who settled in New York City.
The exhibit will tug at your heartstrings, and make you ask the questions –
How did this happen?
Can it happen again?
Auschwitz: Not Long Ago Not Far away closes on Sunday, May 2, 2021, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.
Thursday, April 29
Samson Schames and the Art of Exile
Using Schames’ life story and examples of his work, these panelists will provide a window into the history of exiled artists during the Nazi period and the impact of exile on their art.
- William Weitzer, Executive Director of the Leo Baeck Institute, will moderate a discussion about Schames with
- Annika Friedman from the Jewish Museum Frankfurt and
- Miriam Bistrovic, Leo Baeck Institute’s Berlin Representative.
Presented by Leo Baeck Institute
- FREE, Thursday, April 29, 2021, 2 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
- Register here for Zoom link
Personal note –
My father was from Frankfurt. My father lost dozens of relatives in various concentration camps, including his brother, who was murdered in Auschwitz.
So the Auschwitz exhibit, and this webinar on a Holocaust survivor from Frankfurt is personal as well as professional.
Statement by MJH on Holocaust Remembrance
Here is the statement by MJH president Michael S. Glickman at the 2017 remembrance event, which included Holocaust survivors telling their stories about survival:
Remembering the lives lost in the Holocaust is an act of resistance against the Nazis’ attempts to dehumanize and destroy the Jewish people.
The full horror of genocide is in its ambition not only to murder individuals, families, and communities, but also to wipe out the entire people to whom they belonged—the people who could tell their story, acknowledge their humanity, and preserve their memory.
In their attempt to obliterate the Jewish people, the Nazis sought to change the future and master the past. There would be no Jews to remember the Jewish people who were exterminated; there would be no Jewish perspective on Jewish history, no Jewish insistence that each life is important and should be mourned. Having been denied their humanity in life, victims of the Shoah would be denied it in death.
There would be no survivors’ voices or rallying cries.
Today, we are still here. The Jewish people persist, and we refuse to forget.