We had some powerful articles on TC Jewfolk about that holiday from our writers Jason Kapel (The Holocaust and My Life: on Family and Surviving Part I), Minnesota Mamaleh (Minnesota Mamaleh: Against All Odds, My Grandmother’s Story), and Jenna Zark (Alef, Bet: On the other side of the Holocaust).
I’m sure Yom HaShoah slipped the minds of many Jews despite the best efforts of Jewish blogs, synagogues and Hebrew Schools. And the holiday definitely was missed by most of the non-Jews in this country.
Except Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison.
The Jewish Journal’s God Blog reports that on Tuesday Rep. Ellison issued an official statement in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day. Here is that statement.
Yom Hashoah marks the day in which we remember the six million Jews who lost their lives during World War II.
We honor all those who died and we remember all those who lived to tell the painful story of this dark chapter in history. We also mourn our collective failure to prevent such a horrific tragedy. It is a painful lesson of the dangers of inaction and we remind ourselves that we must never be complacent in the face of genocide, xenophobia, intolerance, and hatred.
We also take pause to honor those of all faiths and nationalities that stood up and sacrificed their lives to protect the innocent.
As we remember those who were killed in the Holocaust, we must also commit ourselves to combat the same discrimination that lives on today. From anti-Semitism to racism, there is no justification for bigotry of any kind.
I am committed to working for mutual respect and understanding of all faiths. I firmly believe that we cannot advance justice and peace if we deny the suffering of others or refuse to learn the lessons of history.
Whatever your politics, you have to admit that’s cool.
Though I’m not a fan of Ellison, he deserves some kudos for this.
I can’t resist picking one nit, though. The statement reads as commemorating “the six million Jews who lost their lives during World War II.” That is not entirely correct. Six million Jews were killed in Nazi death camps and in associated massacres (such as the one in my home town, at Babiy Yar). Many more people simply “lost their lives _during_ World War two,” including Jewish soldiers in the Allied armies, of whom there were not a few. Properly speaking, we commemorate not their deaths — wars kill soldiers all the time — but those of the victims of Nazi genocide.
I only say this because at a time when fewer people are educated about the Holocaust, such proclamations should be extra clear.
Don’t get me wrong, though. I definitely appreciate the congressman’s statement. Thank you, sir.
Great point Mike.