Boost for 'forgotten' Holocaust day

Those behind the UK commemoration of Yom Hashoah, remembering Holocaust victims, are striving to increase communal awareness.

Yom Hashoah was established by the Knesset in 1951 and is marked annually on the 27th of Nissan (this year April 11). However, Jeffrey Pinnick, co-ordinator of the Forum for Yom Hashoah, comprising 25 UK organisations, says it has languished in the shadow of Holocaust Memorial Day.

"January 27 [HMD] has captured the awareness of both the Jewish and non-Jewish community, to a greater extent than Yom Hashoah has been able to do, mainly because of the massive government funding for this wonderful initiative. January 27 was not intended to, nor should it ever, replace the Jewish commemoration of the Shoah, which Yom Hashoah was established to be."

The forum was responding "to the concerns of survivors and refugees that because Yom Hashoah has had such little impact on the British Jewish community since its inception nearly 60 years ago, its limited observance will die out once they are no longer around to tell the story of the unique and horrific tragedy that befell the Jewish people".

The main synagogal organisations have agreed to designate tomorrow as Yom Hashoah Shabbat. Rabbis have been encouraged to deliver a special sermon and there has been promotion of the day at schools.

    Last updated: 1:25pm, April 8 2010