Each spring, people around the world observe Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, to remember the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust. It is also an important time to honor the Jewish resistance that accompanied and followed these atrocities. During this time we are called to remember the pain, suffering, and loss sustained by the victims, their families, and the generations that have followed them.
This commemoration—a marker on the Jewish calendar for acknowledgment and remembrance—serves as a reminder to stop and pay attention. Yom HaShoah gives the Jewish community and others space to reflect together on the immeasurable loss wrought by the Holocaust. No matter what else is going on in the world, this time is set aside for each of us to remember and learn from a history that shouldn’t be forgotten.
When is Yom HaShoah?
Yom HaShoah is observed on the 27th of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, which usually falls in April or May in the Gregorian calendar. In 2023, Yom HaShoah is honored from sundown on April 17 through sundown on April 18.
Observing Yom HaShoah
Yom HaShoah gives the Jewish community and others space to reflect together on the immeasurable loss wrought by the Holocaust. Many communities observe Yom HaShoah with presentations from Holocaust survivors or their children, and—through their stories—living reminders of the exclamation, “Never again.”
But we know that as more time passes, public knowledge about the Holocaust diminishes. This reality, along with the frightening rise in antisemitism and hate-based violence we are currently witnessing, reminds us that “Never again” is not guaranteed.
At Facing History, we believe in the importance of relating the past to the present. Connecting the dots between the Holocaust and today brings meaning to that history, honoring the devastating testimony of survivors and acknowledging the urgent need to stand up against hate. Below, we offer a few ways to mark this commemoration with meaning and intention.
Honor and amplify survivor and witness testimony
Consider the importance of memory and legacy
Examine the history
Stand up to bigotry, hate, and antisemitism today
- Ways to Respond to Rising Antisemitism: This mini-lesson informs students about the rising number of antisemitic incidents in the United States and explores how one teacher responded to an antisemitic incident involving high school students in her community.
- Facing Hate: Confronting Antisemitism in Our Schools Webinar: Young people are exposed to antisemitism in rapidly changing ways, both on school campuses and on unmonitored digital spaces like social media platforms and gaming sites. This panel conversation with classroom teachers unpacks the challenges and opportunities of addressing antisemitism in classrooms.
However you observe, Yom HaShoah must be honored. It has never been more clear that the seemingly simple act of remembering can strengthen our collective commitment to standing up against hate and building a more humane and just world..