National Days of Remembrance

"Never Again" Sign at the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site

Update: Click here to watch video of the May 17 national remembrance ceremony at the U.S. Capitol, which was broadcast live on the USHMM website. The ceremony included remarks by Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, who spoke of how “human compassion was out of fashion” during the Holocaust, and Isreal ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren, who shared that remembering alone is never enough — because goodness must be “galvanized by action.” Other speakers included U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, who spoke about justice and the law, and USHMM director Sara Bloomfield. Click here to follow Twitter comments on this ceremony.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. has been charged by the United States Congress with leading our country’s national commemoration of the Holocaust.

This year’s Holocaust remembrance week is May 1-8. The theme is “Justice and Accountability in the Face of Genocide: What Have We Learned?” But you don’t need to visit D.C. to participate.

Observances are being held by state and local governments, military bases, workplaces, schools, synagogues and civic centers throughout the country, according to the USHMM.

Arizona events include the “CMS 3rd Annual Days of Remembrance Community Event” in Cottonwood — taking place Thurs, May 5, at 6pm at Cottonwood Middle School. Students will open the event “by sharing their published books about genocide and the Holocaust.”

A special USHMM program titled “Life After Death: Holocaust Survivors in the Postwar World” takes place that same evening in Scottsdale. It features Mark Roseman, Ph.D. , the Museum’s 2010-11 Ina Levine Invitational Scholar and the Pat M. Glazer Chair in Jewish Studies at Indiana University Bloomington.

Roseman will “explore the trajectories that survivors’ lives took after World War II and how popular perceptions of the survivor became central to the late 20th-century consciousness” at 6:30pm at the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus in Scottsdale. RSVP by May 2 to Gerry Hoch at 972-490-6300 or southwest@ushmm.org.

Visit the website for Jewish News of Greater Phoenix for additional information about Holocaust remembrance and related events. If your organization is hosting an event, please share details by commenting below to let our readers know.

Click here to share a comment on the USHMM website about how you plan to remember the Holocaust this week, here to watch a webcast of the May 17 commemoration at the U.S. Capitol and here to learn how you can participate in a virtual names reading ceremony remembering victims of the Holocaust.

If you’re looking for additional information about Holocaust remembrance for children and teens, read “Remember and Act: Engaging children in social justice” in the May 2011 issue of Raising Arizona Kids magazine.

The article ends with the following reflection: Memory is never passive, and silence never neutral. We must remember, we must remain vigilant and every one of us must act.

– Lynn

Note: Information about the Holocaust, as well as Holocaust remembrance, is also available from Yad Vashem in Israel. Click here to learn more about “Jewish American Heritage Month,” celebrated in May.

Coming up: Bringing a Holocaust museum to the Valley

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