Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Holocaust Remembrance: A Global Affair

by Jake Young

April 21st was not just another Tuesday for some Ohio University students. It was Holocaust Remembrance Day, and for Jewish students at OU, the day was commemorated with a silent walk around campus, wearing all black with signs saying, "Never Forget."

The idea is not a new one. The national chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity sponsors silent walks across the country, and this was the first time OU took part in the event. AEPi paired up with Bobcats for Israel to put on the event. Bobcats for Israel President Rachel Zieleniec says the event will help students remember the past and commemorate those who were lost.

Keeping the Past Alive

Looking Back

The silent walk would not have been possible if Holocaust Remembrance Day never existed. The Israeli Government started it in 1951, calling it Yom HaShoah.

On Holocaust Remembrance Day, there is no entertainment. Movie houses and play houses are closed, and documentaries relating to the Jewish place in the world and the Holocaust play on TV.

In Israel, there are two specific events:

-Six torches are lit outside Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum and Monument, each one representing one million of those who were killed.
-Then, at 10 pm, all activity stops (buses, cabs, etc) while people observe 2 minutes of silence.

Those Who Survived

Holocaust Remembrance Day would have never come about without the insistence of the Holocaust survivors. Some critics have said that the Day does not do enough to celebrate those survivors, but OU History Professor and Holocaust expert Norman Goda gives two reasons why that criticism is flawed.

Honoring Those Who Passed

Facing Opposition

Despite the celebration of Yom HaShoah across the world, there are still those who object to its existence.

A key opponent is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The day before the Holocaust commemoration, Ahmadinejad made a speech at a UN conference in Geneva calling Israel a racist state built on the "pretext of Jewish sufferings" and accused it of genocide against Palestinians.

Goda says it was a good statement by those European countries who chose to walk out of the speech, but that the problem lies with those who stayed.

Questionable Behavior

Regardless of opposition, Holocaust Remembrance Day will continue on and be commemorated each year. Next year's Remembrance is scheduled for Sunday, April 11.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So good. Oh so good.