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 six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism and to develop educational programs to help prevent future genocides.
How to Remember
International Holocaust Remembrance Day Commemoration
Wednesday, January 27, 1 p.m. ET
During this ceremony, leaders from the United States and Europe will join Holocaust survivors in conveying the urgent responsibility we all share to protect the lessons and legacy of Holocaust history and to defend the truth—now more than ever.
Join the Conversation. Share your reflections about International Holocaust Remembrance Day on social media using #WeRemember.
The two concentration camps liberated on January 27th, 1945
African-American & Jewish-American Citizens: Both Enslaved
by Ellen Sue Jacobson
The Jewish people were slaves in Egypt when pharoahs ruled, so we don’t have the immediacy that some African Americans have, that is, parents or grandparents who were slaves. And because Jews are not considered people of color, unless they are descended from native Africans as in Ethiopia, Jewish people can “pass” and avoid discrimination.
As for people who look Jewish, I believe that is a mistaken concept, since most of the original immigrants were probably from Eastern Europe and had the features that many consider looking Jewish (curly hair, large noses, etc.). However, because of the Diaspora, there are Jewish people who are blondes and redheads without prominent noses or curly hair, because their family migrated and intermarried in countries where their looks were not “typically” Jewish.
Also, in America, many people changed their names, such as Finklestein became Fink, and Greenberg became Greene, and Cohen became Collins. The discrimination of Jews who came to America led to people changing their original name to one less obviously Jewish-sounding, unlike African Americans, who could not change the color of their skin.
The Holocaust in mid-20th century was probably the most horrendous event of that century, with COVID-19 being even more deadly than Pearl Harbor or 911 in the 21st century. Here’s a direct quote from the Internet:
The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jewish men, women and children by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were “racially superior” and they wanted to create a “racially pure” state. Jews, deemed “inferior,” were considered an alien threat to the so-called German racial community….. Other groups were persecuted on political, ideological, and behavioral grounds, among them Communists, Socialists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and homosexuals. Because the Nazis advocated killing children of “unwanted” groups, children—particularly Jewish and Romani children—were especially vulnerable in the era of the Holocaust. (www.encyclopedia.ushmm.org)
And this Washington Post quote tells us even higher numbers:
11 million, not 6 million, died in the Holocaust
Actually, about 6 million Jews and about 5 million non-Jews were murdered by the Nazis. The others included Roma, Jehovah’s Witnesses, gay men, et al. Writing “11 million Jews and others” would more accurately describe the extent of the killing.
Whether we are talking about people of color, people with different religious beliefs, or people who have been scapegoated for whatever reason, making them slaves or putting them in crematoria, or bullying them in school are all injustices they don’t deserve. It is like eliminating people with blue eyes because someone made up a theory that blue-eyed people are weaker than brown-eyed people. To me, the differences between people are what make us all interesting. We are not carbon copies of one another.
I believe that King abhorred antisemitism or any “anti” that denigrated human beings because of the color of their skin or their religious beliefs or cultural differences. When we celebrated Martin Luther King Day and now International Holocaust Memorial Day this month, let us look inside ourselves to see if we are biased against people who look or believe differently from us. (This does not include people who are terrorists, no matter what their skin color or religious beliefs are.) The Golden Rule still holds up: “Don’t do to others that which you would not do to yourself.”
Let’s all work for peace and cooperation among all peoples from all walks of the planet.
P.S. Here is a quote from Rabbi Michael Lerner in Tikuun Magazine www.tikkun.org
“So this is my message: if you want to honor MLK Jr. then Be MLK Jr. Embody his message and embrace his honoring of the other, nonviolent, love-oriented discourse and you will see how miracles start to happen.”