"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest."
April 12th is Yom Hashoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day. Since 1959, on the 27th of Nissan, Jewish communities across the world officially commemorate the loss of 6,000,000 Jews whose lives were taken by the Nazis.
In Canada, Yom HaShoah is marked by ceremonies and events at local Jewish institutions. In Poland, on March of the Living, hundreds of Canadians join thousands from around the world to walk in the footsteps of the 1.1 million Jews executed at Auschwitz.
This annual silent tribute to the memory of those who perished proclaims to the world that the Jewish people have not only survived, but have thrived. This year, the March of the Living is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Since 1988, almost 13,000 Canadians have participated in this life changing experience
In Israel, an official state ceremony at Yad Vashem Memorial in Jerusalem marks the start of Yom HaShoah. At 10:00 A.M., on April 12th, an air raid siren sounds throughout the country as Israelis observe two minutes of solemn reflection.
Yom Hashoah is a valuable opportunity to acknowledge the innate spirit, resilience and strength of the Jewish people, who throughout history have defied attempts at destruction.
It is also a day to honour the brave survivors who came to Canada to rebuild their lives after the Holocaust. We are fortunate to have many still with us as active community members. They have made significant contributions to the Canadian Jewish community by educating generations of Canadians about the Holocaust. Each time they tell their story, they keep the memory of destroyed communities and families alive.
Keeping memory alive is also achieved through the March of the Living Archive Project. Footage is being recorded as March of the Living accompanying survivors share their stories with the students. These testimonies will be archived and available in perpetuity for future generations of students. Visit www.molarchiveproject.com
On this somber day that honours victims of the Holocaust, it is also appropriate to reflect on personal blessings and to think about the people that have enhanced our lives. Yom Hashoah is a day to express our respect for the past, our gratitude for today and our hope for tomorrow.