Holocaust Remembrance Day: Why Remember?


Photo of the Western Wall in Israel

Jolie Newman, College Corner Editor

Downstairs, I hear my grandfather’s voice.

        He is exchanging a conversation with my mother, father, and grandmother. They speak of how my mother is frustrated since after forming a high school reunion, all her friends are now cancelling. My grandfather giggles. My father chimes in, and eventually, my grandmother too. The topic changes. They speak of trivial manners.

        My grandfather’s voice is the same voice that spoke to my great-grandfather before he was executed in the Warsaw Ghetto. My grandfather’s voice is the same one that guided him to survival in Poland during the holocaust, so many years ago. My grandfather’s voice is the voice of a man who escaped inevitable death; a man who lived when the rest of his family could not, a man who started his own family, and helped give life to my father.

        In Israel, the evening of April 11th to 12th is known as Yom HaShoah – it is a time dedicated to remember the genocide of six million Jewish men, women, and children during World War II, at the hands of Nazi Germany. It is a day to remember the six million Jews who were stripped of their belongings, safety, humanity, identity, hope, and life.

        Citizens of Israel heard the sirens that mark the moment of silence (two minutes) for the six million victims of the Holocaust, on April 12 at 10 a.m. Throughout the day, other ceremonies and events were held to further remember the six million Jews who perished during the Holocaust.

        Recently, I had the honor to travel to Israel. While there, I spent a day in Jerusalem and visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum. Through teary eyes, I was able to slightly grasp the atrocities of what happened. I looked upon thousands of pairs of shoes of all different sizes, and I wondered what six million looked like. I heard and read a plentiful of disturbing facts of what happened, such as the fact that Jews who were forced to work the concentration camps saw the face of a long-lost loved one about to die. I saw a luggage with a few belongings of a man, a woman, a child, practically nothing more than a number; it was a luggage that belonged to a person who was told they would be relocated to a better place, only to die in a gas chamber or murdered in some other inhumane way.

        Therefore, history is not allowed to repeat itself. The world is not allowed to forget what happened on January 30, 1933 until May 8, 1945. The moment we forget is the moment we admit that humans have lost all humanity, and that there is no worth to human life.

Downstairs, I hear my grandfather’s voice.

My grandfather’s voice is the voice of an incredible, courageous man. His voice is the voice of a survivor. My grandfather’s voice is a voice to listen to, as he will occasionally share his story and represent the voice of a whole entire lost generation. My grandfather’s voice is one that can never be forgotten.