Today, Yom HaShoah, is a day of commemoration for the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust. This might sound similar to International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which takes place in January, but these are actually two different occasions.
Yom HaShoah is the Jewish community’s day for internal reflection. It’s an opportunity to educate children, share stories, honor the victims of the Holocaust; and recognize the accomplishments of survivors.
In comparison, International Holocaust Remembrance Day is meant for everyone (no matter their religion or ethnicity) to remember the victims of the Holocaust. This day also recognizes all the forms of Nazi Persecution and other genocides that have taken place. It falls on January 27th each year to mark the day that the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp was liberated in 1945.
You might be wondering why the names are different. Shoah is a biblical Hebrew word for “catastrophe.” Whereas, Holocaust is a greek term that means “a burnt sacrificial offering to a god.” The word Shoah is used for Yom HaShoah because it centres the experiences of Jewish people.
As we use this day for internal reflection, we vow to never forget.
Originally Published Apr 8 2021 02:12PM EDT