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International Holocaust Remembrance Day
By Hanni Yang
Published January 27, 2022
First, let's light the candle of remembrance and join our hands together in prayer as we recall the horrific genocide of the 1930s to 1940s—The Holocaust.
A lot of people may not know the history of the Holocaust. It was a tyrannical and inhumane moment in history when ten thousand, hundred thousand, millions of people were slaughtered just because of their ethnicity and religion.
What is the Holocaust?
The Holocaust was the organized, government-sponsored persecution that took place from 1933 to 1945 when six million Jews and non-Jewish minorities, including Romani and Sinti, Serbs, political dissidents, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+, and Jehova's Witnesses were persecuted by the Nazi regime and its allies and collaborators.
At that time, the leader of Germany was a fascist and antisemitic named Adolf Hitler. His beliefs made Jews and non-Jews suffer. Hitler's religious persecution led to the genocide of six million Jews. Fortunately, around 300,000 Jews managed to survive.
What caused the Holocaust?
There are two factors that caused the Holocaust: fascism and antisemitism.
Fascism is a nationalist and often racist political philosophy with a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictator, using the severe economic and social regiment, and forcible suppression of opposition.
Antisemitism, hatred, and prejudice against Jews, was a basic part of Nazi ideology. It was the foundation of the Holocaust. This prejudice was also widespread throughout Europe.
During the mid-twentieth century, the extermination of the Jewish people was carried out as a result of the growth of fascism and antisemitism. A lot of people left their hometowns and were displaced, unable to return to their homes, and even unable to go back to their country.
What did others do for survivors of the Holocaust?
Numerous countries accepted the Jewish people in exile. Righteous people were united. A resolute struggle was waged against fascism. This is also one of the causes of World War II.
With the help and support of the people of many countries, the world went through a long and remarkable war. Finally, people hit the fascists, and the killing of the Jewish people was stopped.
As a result of the Holocaust, many survivors found themselves living in displaced person camps meaning that they have to wait for a long time to emigrate to new homes.
An internally displaced person (IDP) is one who has been forced to migrate for similar political reasons as a refugee but has not migrated across an international border.
The remaining survivors escaped to other countries and sought refugee status since they were frightened of returning to their original country due to postwar violence, antisemitism, and fascism.
What is International Holocaust Remembrance Day?
On January 27, it was the International Holocaust Remembrance Day - not only for the Jewish Holocaust but for subsequent genocides in places like Cambodia, Bosnia, and Rwanda. All over the world, people honor the survivors and reflect on the consequences, but still, it was incredible to have such an event happen. Now we live in an era of peace and happiness. We, as students and the younger generation, should never forget the past or forget history. We shall not repeat our mistakes! We will make society a luminous future!
Interview from TYWLSA Teachers!
I recently had the opportunity to sit with a couple of my ELA teachers who are Jewish and discuss their feelings about this solemn day in history. These teachers are Yana Garbarg, who is Jewish, and Sylvie Edman, who is Jewish and Romani.
How were you involved in Holocaust Remembrance Day here at TYWLS?
Sylvie: I support Yana to create Advisory lessons to teach students about what the holocaust was and why is it important for us to study and remember.
Yana: A few years ago, I wanted to support this school about these historical events. I decided with the help of another teacher, Allison Gaia, to create Advisory lessons to teach students about what the holocaust was and why is it important for us to study.
Why is the issue of the Holocaust so personal to you?
Sylvie: Being who I am—Jewish & Romani. My great grandparents, who were born in Russia, were also Jewish. Luckily, they were able to escape to Ellis Island.
Yana: I am Jewish. I lived in Israel where many Jews survivors went to live after the Holocaust. My family is from the Soviet Union where there is a long history of antisemitism. My parents experienced discrimination–due to being Jewish–and went to Israel when they left. Israel is the only country with the majority population is Jewish. While they lived in Israel, my parents made relationships with holocaust survivors and they will often host the elders survivors and I heard their stories about life during WWII. Some were survivors from different concentration camps. And I remember as a child they had numbers tattooed on their arms so the guards could identify the different people in the camp. My grandma’s brother was a pilot during WWII. He was one of the few jewish people in his unit. His airplane was shot down, disappeared. They never found it. But we know he fought against the Nazis and gave his life for that.
“International Holocaust Remembrance Day.” Ushmm.org, 2022, www.ushmm.org/remember/international-holocaust-remembrance-day. Accessed 3 Feb. 2022.
HistoryExtraAdmin. “The Windermere Children: The Remarkable Stories of 300 Child Survivors of the Holocaust.” HistoryExtra, 22 Dec. 2021, www.historyextra.com/period/second-world-war/orphans-holocaust-children-stories-survivors-lake-district-uk.
“Consequences of the Holocaust - The Holocaust - KS3 History Revision.” BBC Bitesize,
www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/zkfk7ty/revision/5. Accessed 3 Feb. 2022.
“Effects and Aftermath of the Holocaust.” Holocaust Encyclopedia, encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/the-aftermath-of-the-holocaust. Accessed 3 Feb. 2022.
“Facism_essay.” Nku.edu, 2022, www.nku.edu/~eng/ism/fascism. Accessed 3 Feb. 2022.
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