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A Day of Remembrance: Yom HaShoah יום השואה

Today in Israel is Yom HaShoah here in Israel and I wanted it to be a part of this blog. 

(Sorry for the quality, as I still am without my camera.) 

About today’s importance, via wikipedia:

“Yom HaShoah was inaugurated in 1953, anchored in a law signed by the Prime Minister of Israel David Ben-Gurion and the President of Israel Yitzhak Ben-Zvi. The original proposal was to hold Yom HaShoah on the 14th of Nisan, the anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising (April 19, 1943), but this was problematic because the 14th of Nisan is the day immediately before Pesach (Passover). The date was moved to the 27th of Nisan, which is eight days before Yom Ha’atzma’ut, or Israeli Independence Day.”

Israel marks Holocaust Remembrance Day with siren, memorial services. (

Central theme of Holocaust Day 2012: My Brother’s Keeper: Holocaust Remembrance Day begins at 8 P.M. Wednesday night at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.

The above photo is a screen shot of a few places on the Internet Wednesday night, with the aim to show you how things change on certain days here in Israel unlike other parts of the world. (This photo is of Israeli TV Channels 10 and 2, via the Internet with in the backdrop.) Wednesday night, at 8.00 PM, the beginning of Yom HaShoah events started throughout the country in honor of those 6 million Jews who were killed during WWII. This event is somewhat political (something I try to stay away from in this  blog and I hope you won’t hold it against me), but I wanted to do a small post about the cultural significance of today here in Israel.  The events of this day are unlike anything I have ever come to witness in any other country for any other historical event. The T.V. channels, at least more than those who don’t (mostly the foreign channels, BBC, ect.), all feature shows about the survivors and the stories of those who were killed from 8.oo pm Wednesday night to sundown on Thursday. Flags are also at half-mast by sundown Wednesday night. And for about two minutes right at 10.00 am Thursday morning, people around Israel paused and stood in silence to honor those who were killed. 

Today, Thursday, at 10.oo AM was when the alarm went off throughout Israel and people stopped and stood where they are, in silence and stillness, until the alarm stopped. This means wherever you are: cars on highways, buses, in school: everyone (who wishes to show their respect) stops what they are doing and stands in silence. These are the moments you’ll never forget once you experience them the first time and understand exactly what it means to be standing where you are today, with only the memory of so many that will never stand here with you. I remember last year when I was at the kibbutz, where they also hold a little ceremony every year right before the siren, and I remember seeing my partner’s kid sisters cry. Their tears affected me like nothing else.

This is to honor all of those who are not with us today: we remember and honor you.

More from Wiki,

“Yom HaShoah opens in Israel at sundown[4] in a state ceremony held at the Warsaw Ghetto Plaza at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes Authority, in Jerusalem. During the ceremony the national flag is lowered to half mast, the President and the Prime Minister both deliver speeches, Holocaust survivors light six torches symbolizing the approximately six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust and theChief Rabbis recite prayers.

At 10:00 am on Yom HaShoah, sirens are sounded throughout Israel for two minutes. During this time, people cease from action and stand at attention; cars stop, even on the highways; and the whole country comes to a standstill as people pay silent tribute to the dead.

On Yom HaShoah ceremonies and services are held at schools, military bases and in other public and community organizations.

On the eve of Yom HaShoah and the day itself, places of public entertainment are closed by law. Israeli television airs Holocaust documentaries and Holocaust-related talk shows, and low-key songs are played on the radio. Flags on public buildings are flown at half mast.

There are many videos on Youtube that show various places in Israel when the sirens go off and what it is like to be here during those moments, if you want to view some of them. Click this and watch the ones you want.  Here is one of the Tel Aviv Highway, where most traffic (on the highway) comes to a complete standstill: And this one,

Lessons in Love: A documentary to be broadcast tonight charts the heartbreaking journey of two brothers from the Krakow ghetto to Israel and of their eventual deep reconnection to each other.

Israeli and world leaders must stop using the Holocaust for political goals. When the Holocaust is politicized, for whatever purpose or reason, our duty to remember is tainted by the machinations of petty political interest.

From the US Embassy.

Update: The date of April 19th was specifically chosen as the Holocaust Memorial Day to honor those who fought back during April 19, 1942 during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and to honor the Jewish Spirit of courage, rather than place all the focus on being the victim, Israel decided upon this date. Read a in-depth article about the Uprising here,

About kaie w. bird

A freelance photographer in Israel that likes to scoot about while documenting just about everything. P.S. I am a horrible editor. Forgive me.

15 responses to “A Day of Remembrance: Yom HaShoah יום השואה

  1. Well done! This should really be a worldwide event, but good luck getting the Americans to stop doing anything other than praying to their flag and the dollar!

      • 🙂 should you ever visit Warsaw, you must walk along the Path of Remembrance …. to sense the places and memorials where all this happened… the anniversary celebration is held every year, but this year in different place as the main monument is being renovated. All the best, Ewa

  2. This day is also commemorating the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising > have a look and listen to beautiful yiddish song by Polish singer >

    • This is something I should have wrote more about than I did above, so thank you for posting it. It is true that the day was selected because it had an element of honor and courage of the Jewish spirit and strength, so that it would not only be a day of morning and having an element as being the “victim”. This day was chosen because back on April 19th, 1943, there were [Jewish] people who choose to resist what was happening to them [in the Warsaw Ghetto from the Nazis] and fight back. Here is a goo link about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising: In 1968,

      “The 25th anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, Yitzhak Zuckerman, was asked what military lessons could be learned from the uprising. He replied:

      ‘I don’t think there’s any real need to analyze the Uprising in military terms. This was a war of less than a thousand people against a mighty army and no one doubted how it was likely to turn out. This isn’t a subject for study in military school…. If there’s a school to study the human spirit, there it should be a major subject. The important things were inherent in the force shown by Jewish youth after years of degradation, to rise up against their destroyers, and determine what death they would choose: Treblinka or Uprising. I don’t know if there’s a standard to measure that.'[35]”

      • Yes, very true. Warsaw Ghetto was the first to fight which makes it a very important symbol. On the other hand – Marek Edelman always said that dying during the battle is no better than dying silently….. the most important was to not surrender ….

      • Anyway – today in Warsaw we celebrate the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising – for the first time ever – not in front of the monument to the Heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto (which is currently under renovation) but at Mila 18 – Anielewicz bunker memorial.

        • Thank you so much for all your comments! I wasn’t aware about the ceremony being held in Warsaw (or that it was the first one), so I was glad to read your comment. I have traveled to Poland and was really amazed by the land and by the people. Oh, and the food. = ) Thanks again for all your additional information!

  3. REally beautiful post Kaie.

  4. Beautiful and very meaningful post; well done and very respectful indeed.

    • Thank you. I was hoping to avoid arousing comments that wanted to get into politics, but still really felt the need to honor this here. Glad there wasn’t a bad reaction to it.

  5. kaori

    Very beautiful and heartfelt post, Kaie.
    I think this is one of my most extraordinary experiences in Israel that will stand out in my memories.

    • Thanks, as always Kaori. Glad you looked up the ones from the highway, since they are really interesting to see. Thank you sharing the link, too! = )

  6. Pingback: 20 April 2012 « Meuleh! מעולה | Meuleh | メウレ

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