Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah in
Hebrew) is a national day of commemoration in Israel, on which the six
million Jews murdered in the Holocaust are memorialised. It is a solemn
day, beginning at sunset on the 27th of the month of Nisan (April 18,
2012) and ending the following evening, according to the traditional
Jewish custom of marking a day. Places of entertainment are closed and
memorial ceremonies are held throughout the country.
The central ceremonies, in the evening and the following morning, are
held at Yad Vashem and are broadcast on the television. Marking the
start of the day – in the presence of the President of the State of
Israel and the Prime Minister, dignitaries, survivors, children of
survivors and their families, gather together with the general public to
take part in the memorial ceremony at Yad Vashem in which six torches,
representing the six million murdered Jews, are lit.
The following morning, the ceremony at Yad Vashem begins with the
sounding of a siren for two minutes throughout the entire country. For
the duration of the sounding, work is halted, people walking in the
streets stop, cars pull off to the side of the road and everybody stands
at silent attention in reverence to the victims of the Holocaust.
Afterward, the focus of the ceremony at Yad Vashem is the laying of
wreaths at the foot of the six torches, by dignitaries and the
representatives of survivor groups and institutions. Other sites of
remembrance in Israel, such as the Ghetto Fighters’ Kibbutz and Kibbutz
Yad Mordechai, also host memorial ceremonies, as do schools, military
bases, municipalities and places of work.
Central theme for this year: My Brother’s Keeper – Jewish Solidarity During the Holocaust
Documents and testimonies from the Shoah indicate that within the
impossible reality into which Jews were thrust, mutual help and a
commitment to the other were quite common. The individual had little
chance of survival without the sense of togetherness, and this Jewish
unity is what carried people and helped them endure another day.
“Unto Every Person There is a Name”
Six million Jews, among them 1.5 million children, were murdered in
the Shoah while the world remained silent. The worldwide Holocaust
memorial project “Unto Every Person There is a Name”
is a unique project designed to perpetuate their memory as individuals
and restore their identity and dignity, through the public recitation of
their names on Yom Hashoah – Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance
Day. By personalising the individual tragedies of the Jewish victims of
Nazi Germany and its collaborators, this project counters persistent
efforts by enemies of the State of Israel and the Jewish people to deny
the reality of the Holocaust and cast it as history’s seminal hoax.
“Everyone has a name” – Poem by Zelda
[translated from Hebrew]
Everyone has a name given to him by God and given to him by his parents.
Everyone has a name given to him by his stature and the way he smiles and given to him by his clothing.
Everyone has a name given to him by the mountains and given to him by the walls.
Everyone has a name given to him by the stars and given to him by his neighbors.
has a name given to him by his sins and given to him by his longing.
Everyone has a name given to him by his enemies and given to him by his
love. Everyone has a name given to him by his holidays and given to him
by his work.
Everyone has a name given to him by the seasons and given to him by his blindness.
Everyone has a name given to him by the sea and given to him by his death.
“Unto Every Person There is a Name” is conducted around the world in
hundreds of Jewish communities through the efforts of four major Jewish
organisations: B’nai B’rith International, Nativ, the World Jewish
Congress and the World Zionist Organisation. The project is coordinated
by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority,
in consultation with the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and enjoys
the official auspices of the President of the State of Israel Shimon
Peres. In Israel, “Unto Every Person There is a Name” has become an
integral part of the official Yom Hashoah commemoration ceremonies, with
the central events held at the Knesset and at Yad Vashem with the
participation of elected officials, as well as events throughout the
Lists of names
Architecture of Murder: The Auschwitz-Birkenau Blueprints
Auschwitz is universally recognised as the ultimate symbol of evil
the worlds largest death factory. It is estimated that approximately 1.1
million people were murdered there, of whom a million were Jews. From a
single camp in 1940, Auschwitz was transformed into a massive complex,
including 3 main camps and 40 sub-camps. The establishment of the
Auschwitz complex was a project that lasted years, and was never
completed. In the course of the planning phase, SS draftsmen prepared
hundreds of drawings and plans of the construction sites and the various
buildings. These included detailed drawings of the gas chambers and the
Over 4 million names in Central Database of Shoah Victims
The Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names
is a unique international undertaking led by Yad Vashem. It is the
endeavor to recover the names and reconstruct the life stories of each
individual Jew murdered in the Shoah. It is our moral duty to respect
their last behest and remember them. We estimate that the number of Jews
commemorated in the database to date is 4 million. The database is
comprised of Pages of Testimony, historical documentation and additional sources.
Millions of names that appear in historical documents have not yet
been identified or recorded in the database; many additional names still
linger in the memories of survivors or in their family folklore.
Building the database is a work in progress.
The Names’ Database enables visitors to search for the names of any
of the over 4 million Shoah victims recorded to date. In addition, it
allows users to submit new Pages of Testimony – special forms containing
biographical details of individual victims – for those victims as yet
unrecorded. About half of the names in the Database were obtained from
the more than 2.5 million Pages of Testimony submitted to Yad Vashem
over the past 50 years, nearly all of which have now been digitised.
Other names have been gleaned from additional computerized lists,
including deportation, camp and ghetto records.