This year’s Yom Hashoah theme is ‘defiance’


The tagline for this year’s International Holocaust Memorial Day, Yom Hashoah, is ‘Defiance and Rebellion during the Holocaust: 70 years since the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising’.

Yad Vashem's chief historian Professor Dina Porat said: "The notions of 'defiance' and 'rebellion' are fundamentally important to any discussion concerning the Holocaust – and rightly so. In the ghettos and camps, indeed in every place with a Jewish populace and Jewish life, there was some form of protest or resistance to the plot to obliterate the Jewish nation."

Commemorated globally on April 7-8, the day will be marked in Israel with a ceremony at Yad Vashem this Sunday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres are expected to speak and take part in a wreath-laying ceremony alongside other government officials and heads of Jewish organisations. Israeli singer David D’Or and actor Ishai Golan are due to be involved in the ceremony.

Chairman of Yad Vashem Avner Shalev will light the memorial torch and a group of Holocaust survivors will light the traditional six candles in remembrance of the six million Jews who perished. Aliza Vitis-Shomron is expected to speak on behalf of the survivors.

The main memorial service will be followed by a Ceremony for Hungarian Jews and a Ceremony for Youth Movements. The traditional recitation of Holocaust victims’ names, Unto Every Person there is a Name, will be done in the Hall of Remembrance and in the Knesset that morning.

Yad Vashem has also created a special exhibition for this year’s Yom Hashoah.

The display, which opened in January, demonstrates the process of collection, research, registration and digitalisation of Holocaust-related items.

Titled ‘Gathering the Fragments – Behind the Scenes of the Campaign to Rescue Personal Items from the Holocaust’, the exhibition is part of a larger national campaign to collect and preserve Holocaust-related material. Since the campaign began in 2011, some 71,000 items have been donated by Israeli families to the museum.

Mr Shalev said: “Through these examples, we have tried to bring to light items whose stories both explain the individual story and provide testimony to join the array of personal accounts that make up the narrative of the Holocaust.”

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