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Desk of Esther

A Special Message for Yom Hashoah 2020

Although traditional public Yom Hashoah ceremonies cannot be held this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we must continue to mark this important day and never forget the lessons of the Shoah.

April 20, 2020


My dear friends,

“This is the nachas. This is also the greatest victory. You kept Yiddishkeit, Judaism. The Nazis’ war wasn’t only against Jews. It was also a war against Judaism. They destroyed 1,046 shuls in one night on Kristallnacht. They did not take the Jewish banks, clinics, stores – just synagogues. So when you survived and you built a nice family, it’s a double victory, physically and spiritually.” - Rav Meir Israel Lau

Tonight at 20.00 pm sirens will mark the beginning of Yom Hazikaron laShoah ve-laG'vurah ("Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day”), Israel's national memorial day of commemoration for the approximately six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust as a result of the actions carried out by Nazi Germany and its collaborators,

Due to the Corona Pandemic, the traditional ceremony will be held without an audience because Holocaust survivors are in the most vulnerable age group and are confined to their homes, and gatherings are currently forbidden. Sadly amongst the Corona mortalities were also Holocaust survivors. The ceremony was recorded and will be broadcasted on TV and the radio.

As the traditional ceremonies cannot be held, the public has been asked to stand on their balconies during the siren this evening, holding a plaque that says “remembering from near, hugging from afar” to show the survivors that they are in our hearts always and that they are not alone.

The Chairperson of the Yad VaShem Council, Former Chief Rabbi Meir Israel Lau, a Holocaust survivor, said in a radio interview that we sanctify life and in the current situation everyone has to consider one thing – only – their health. Due to his age, he is also in confinement, but in a number of interviews, in the past few weeks, he has given us all, a lot of hope. He also mentioned that it will be the first time in over 60 years that “the March of the Living” will not take place.

When we say “Never Again” we need to do whatever we can, to implement these words. Recent reports show an increase of 18% in Anti-Semitic events, emphasizing the importance of teaching about the Holocaust.

Please share this letter with family, friends, members of your Federation. and mailing lists, emphasizing the significance of teaching about the Holocaust.

Stay healthy, stay happy, stay at home.  

In friendship,


Esther Mor,
President, World WIZO

Photo credits: Wikipedia