Home Worship Planning Planning Resources Remembering the Holocaust

Remembering the Holocaust

The Holocaust was Nazi Germany's attempt to systematically exterminate the Jews in the 1930s and 40s. In addition to the persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews during that time, the Nazis also targeted other groups they considered inferior, including Gypsies, Poles, Russians, Communists, Socialists, Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, and the disabled. It is considered one of the darkest periods in human history.

There are a number of ways to remember the Holocaust and its victims. Here are some:

  • In worship, use hymns, prayers, sermons, liturgy, rituals, poetry and candles on related themes such as persecution, survival, and freedom.
  • Organize a civic ceremony for the community with local officials, proclamations, and speeches.
  • Plant trees or flowers in a public display or garden of remembrance.
  • Encourage students to write essays.
  • Ask a scholar or professor to offer a lecture.
  • Arrange a film or film series with public or panel discussion.
  • Obtain and read the names of Holocaust victims.
  • Engage the arts: poetry reading, music concert, art exhibit.
  • Have public school and library displays and book discussion groups.
  • Have a forum or public discussion on preventing genocide.

There is no single day recognized by the world to remember the Holocaust. It is observed in different nations and by different peoples on different dates, often connected to specific Holocaust-related dates in a nation.

  • Holocaust Remembrance Day: May 1 of every year, established bythe U.S. Congress.
  • Days of Remembrance: from the Sunday before May 1 through the Sunday after May 1, established by U.S. Congress.
  • Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Day, Remembrance Day: Established by Israel in 1953. It is held on the 27 Nisan (April/May). When Yom Hashoah falls on a Friday, it is moved to Thursday. When it falls on a Sunday, it is moved to Monday. For additional information, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yom_HaShoah. Dates for Yom Hashoah:
    • Monday, April 8, 2013
    • Monday, April 28, 2014
    • Thursday, April 16, 2015
    • Thursday, May 5, 2016
    • Monday, April 24, 2017
    • Thursday, April 12, 2018
    • Thursday, May 2, 2019
    • o Tuesday, April 21, 2020

  • International Holocaust Remembrance Day: January 27, established in 2005 by the United Nations General Assembly, commemorating the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration camp.

The US Congress created the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (www.ushmm.org ) in Washington, D.C., as a permanent memorial to Holocaust victims, with a mandate to lead the U.S.A. in commemorating the Days of Remembrance. The museum's website offers extensive history, information, and suggestions for commemoration.

Please also see the Yom Hashoah Service on our website.