Holocaust Remembrance Day 2022

Begining in 2005, January 27 has been designated as international Holocaust Remembrance Day to honor the victims of the Holocaust. The date was chosen to commemorate the liberation of concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1945. The Holocaust was the systematic killing of more than six-million European Jews and an additional five-million people the Nazi regime and its collaborators deemed unfavorable in the 1930s and ‘40s. A sizable percentage of the murders were conducted in concentration camps. Auschwitz-Birkenau, located in southern Poland, was the largest of its kind, making its liberation so significant.  

Holocaust Remembrance Day serves as a day of commemoration for the victims of the Nazi regime and promotion of Holocaust education around the world. The day serves to reject all “Holocaust denial” and emphasizes tolerance for all ethnicities, religions, and cultures. 

According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (ushmm.org), the United Nations (UN) designates each year with a guiding theme. The 2022 theme was “Memory, Dignity, and Justice.” The UN explains on its website, “The theme aims to encourage action to challenge hatred, strengthen solidarity, and champion compassion.”  

The UN Holocaust Memorial Ceremony takes place annually on the Remembrance Day.  The 2022 ceremony included remarks by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, as well as statements from prominent guests. Also shared were testimonials from Holocaust survivors from Canada, Israel, South Africa, the US. There were also musical performances and memorial prayers recited in honor of those who lost their lives. The memorial was live-streamed internationally for all to view, alongside many other ceremonies throughout the day. 

The Holocaust was a horrific event in history that contributed to a mass annihilation of people, yet there are still many who deny it. Thus, education on the causes of the Holocaust, as well as the atrocities that occured during it, is imperitive as it reminds everyone that no such event should ever transpire again. 

Social Studies teacher David Rabinowitz said, “We civilians of the world should be aware of the historical conditions and patterns that allow for totalitarian leaders to seize power. This, along with the racist views of the Nazi party, were the routes of the Holocaust.” 

Rabinowitz believes that the Remembrance Day is essential because it “serves a great purpose in preserving history and paying respect to survivors and those lost, combating racism, and promoting education.” 

Sophomore Raquel Romano agrees. “I remember when I first learned about the Holocaust,” she said. “In fifth grade, I attended an assembly where a Holocaust survivor shared her story. I still cannot fathom how something so terrible occurred and how there is still ignorance shown towards the Holocaust to this day. Education, honor, and preservation are the most crucial factors of preventing history from repeating itself.” 

In Washington, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris invited Holocaust survivors to the White House to share their stories. With the numbers of living Holocaust survivors dwindling each year, along with the rise of antisemitic attacks, Holocaust Remembrance Day may now be needed more than ever. In a statement recorded by the White House Archives, Biden said, “We cannot redeem the past. But, on this day, as we mourn humanity’s capacity to inflict inhuman cruelty, let us commit to making a better future and to always upholding the fundamental values of justice, equality, and diversity that strengthen free societies.”

LHS has paid recognition to Holocaust Remembrance Day by establishing a memorial in the cafeteria. The display was filled with candles that represented the lives lost. In addition to the memorial, the school conducted an honorary moment of silence, and teachers focused their lessons on the Holocaust.

“I think the memorial in the cafeteria is beautiful,” said freshman Gianni Buonavita. “Whenever someone walks by it, they are reminded of the victims, and it promotes preserving history.”

Holocaust Remberance Day may only be one day, but the impact of the Holocaust is forever present in society. The events of the Holocaust serve as a lesson in what can happen when one does not stand up or speak out for others. It also reminds people that when one does not learn from hatred, it can never be eliminated. 

LHS will never forget.