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International Holocaust Memorial Day: January 27th

Friday, January 26th, 2018

When I lived in Israel during the Yom Kippor War, Holocaust Memorial Day was in May. At this time there was no International Day and I believe was held mostly in synagogues. I also was unaware of the hundreds of thousands of refugees who sought haven here and elsewhere during WWII, since I was still a very young child.

Just recently I saw a PBS special on Ruth Gruber, who’s long career as a foreign correspondent, well ahead of her time as a career woman when she was still in her twenties, wrote several books about refugees and immigrants, one of which is entitled simply, Havenabout the ship that brought nearly 1,000 refugees from Europe to the US who would have been murdered by the Nazis. It included Jews, Catholics, and other so-called “enemies” of the Reich.

Photo of Ruth Gruber when she was a young foreign correspondent in 1944.
November 19, 2016 (from The Washington Post. Google Ruth Gruber or Washington Post for entire story and for other articles about Ruth’s wonderful accomplishments.)

“Ruth Gruber, an American journalist who stumbled into one of the great rescue stories of the Holocaust when the U.S. government appointed her to escort nearly 1,000 Jews across U-boat infested waters to the shores of the United States, died Nov. 17 at her home in Manhattan. She was 105….”

Ruth accompanied these men, women, and children on the journey from Italy to the U.S. during WWII and her book is informative and moving. She offers advice, care and acts as a compassionate listener, solving problems when she can. (She was sent by  U.S. Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes.)  Her writing is also excellent and gives you a sense of  the trials and tribulations suffered by so many people during and after the war. With the immigrant issue still looming big, this day is a reminder that compassion is needed to help people who seek asylum. Compassion never goes out of style!

I only learned about the International Holocaust Memorial Day a couple of years ago, but because there are still many people on the planet who are treated poorly because of the color of their skin or their religious beliefs or because of their gender choices, I feel this is an important day to honor with the watchwords “Never Again.”  I have lifted the info from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, reprinted below directly from the site. I hope to watch the program. (Link in text below.)


This photo is from the Home Page with the link: Introduction to the Holocaust. Go to the website to click on the link. I am unable to reproduce it here, but you can go to the site’s Home Page: .

The United Nations General Assembly designated January 27—the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau—as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On this annual day of commemoration, the UN urges every member state to honor the victims of the Nazi era and to develop educational programs to help prevent future genocides.

Join the conversation and share your reflections about International Holocaust Remembrance Day on social media using #WeRemember.



On January 26 at 11 a.m. ET, the Museum will host a commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This program will feature remarks from the Honorable David O’Sullivan, Ambassador of the European Union to the United States, and a Holocaust survivor, musical selections, as well as a candle-lighting ceremony and victims’ names reading. Join live at



Sunday, December 31st, 2017

Note: Our family member, Ignacio, sent this list from Future Crunch. With all the “bad news” we read about, this is a welcome opportunity to see what “good news” we can spread!

As 2017 winds down, here are 99 REASONS WHY 2017 WAS A GREAT YEAR. If you’re feeling despair about the fate of humanity, you might want to reconsider. The uplifting list below comes from Future Crunch:


  1. The Indian government officially banned the use of all wild animals in circus performances. One month later, the Italian parliament did the same. 40 nations now have animal circus bans in place.
  2. Cancer deaths have dropped by 25% in the United States since 1991, saving more than 2 million lives. Breast cancer deaths have fallen by 39%, saving the lives of 322,600 women.
  3. Zika all but disappeared in 2017. Cases plummeted in Latin America and the Caribbean, and most people in those places are now immune.


  1. A new report showed that the world’s assault on tropical diseases is working. A massive, five-year international effort has saved millions of lives, and countries are now signing up for more.


  1. Soft drink sales in the United States dropped for the 12th year in a row, thanks to consumer education and new sugar taxes aimed at stemming obesity and diabetes.


  1. Trachoma, the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness, was eliminated as a public health problem in Oman and Morocco, and Mexico became the first country in the Americas to eliminate it.


  1. Meet Sanduk Ruit and Geoff Tabin, two eye doctors responsible for helping restore sight to 4 million people in two dozen countries, including North Korea and Ethiopia.


  1. Premature deaths for the world’s four biggest noncommunicable diseases — cardiovascular, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory_– _have declined by 16% since 2000.


  1. One of China’s richest women, He Qiaonv, announced a $2 billion donation for wildlife conservation, the largest environmental philanthropic pledge of all time.


  1. In July, UNAIDS, revealed that for the first time in history, half of all people on the planet with HIV are now getting treatment, and that AIDS deaths have dropped by half since 2005.


  1. There were only 26 cases of Guinea worm in 2017, down from 3.5 million cases in 21 countries in Africa and Asia in 1986.


  1. The United Kingdom announced a 20% fall in the incidence of dementia over the past two decades, meaning 40,000 fewer people are being affected every year.


  1. Thanks to better access to clean water and sanitation, the number of children around the world who are dying from diarrhea has fallen by a third since 2005.


  1. Leprosy is now easily treatable. The number of worldwide cases has dropped by 97% since 1985, and a new plan has set 2020 as the target for the end of the disease.


  1. China agreed to ban the domestic ivory trade by the end of 2017. By mid year, the price of raw ivory in Asia had fallen by around half. And in October, the UK government banned the sale and export of all ivory items.


  1. On the 17th November, the WHO said that global deaths from tuberculosis have fallen by 37% since 2000, saving an estimated 53 million lives. These astonishing achievements were not, of course, reported by every media outlet on the planet.


  1. Chile set aside 11 million acres of land for national parks in Patagonia, following the largest-ever private land donation from a private entity to a country.


  1. China invested more than $100 billion into treating and preventing water pollution, and launched nearly 8,000 water clean-up projects in the first half of 2017.


  1. The United States, Russia, China, and the European Union reached a deal to make the Arctic off-limits to commercial fishers for the next 16 years.


  1. In July, 1.5 million people in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh set a new Guinness record for reforestation by planting more than 67 million trees in a 12-hour period.


  1. A province in Pakistan announced it has planted 1 billion trees in two years, in response to the terrible floods of 2015.


  1. In August, the Canadian government and Inuit groups signed a deal to create the “Serengeti of the Arctic,” by far the largest marine reserve in the country’s history.


  1. A month later, one of the world’s largest marine parks was created off the coast of Easter Island, and will protect 142 species, including 27 threatened with extinction.


  1. The EU imposed new, stricter limits on pollutants such as nitrogen, sulfur, mercury, and particulates that will apply to all 2,900 of Europe’s large power plants.


  1. China carried out its largest ever crackdown on pollution, reprimanding, fining or jailing officials in 80,000 factories, 40% of the country’s total.


  1. Indonesia pledged $1 billion to clean up its seas from plastic, Kenya announced a ban on plastic bags, and Chile said it will ban them in its coastal cities. 30 countries now have existing or impending bans in place.


  1. Eleven countries continued their plan to build a wall of trees from east to west across Africa in order to push back the desert. In Senegal, it’s already working.


  1. Cameroon committed to restoring over 12 million hectares of forest in the Congo Basin, and Brazil started a project to plan 73 million trees, the largest tropical reforestation project in history.


  1. In November, Mexico’s government created a new 148,000 square kilometer ocean reserve, “the Galapagos of North America,” for the conservation of hundreds of species, including rays, humpback whales, sea turtles, lizards and migratory birds.


  1. In 2017, the ozone hole shrunk to its smallest size since 1988, the year Bobby McFerrin topped the charts with ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy.’


  1. The International Energy Agency announced that nearly 1.2 billion people around the world have gained access to electricity in the last 16 years.


  1. In February, the World Bank published new figures showing that 20 years ago, the average malnourished person on planet Earth consumed

155 fewer calories per day than they needed. Today, that number is down to 88.