Today, eight days after the official publication of my debut story collection, Quiet Americans, I’m not going to blog (or link to) my book’s latest reviews, the virtual tour, or anything along those lines. Instead, focusing on the history behind my book, I want to take this opportunity remind us all about today’s significance: Today is the annual International Day of Commemoration to honor the victims of the Holocaust.
In my Jewish education as a child and young adult, I learned about (and now routinely remember) Yom Hashoah. As My Jewish Learning explains:
The full name of the day commemorating the victims of the Holocaust is “Yom Hashoah Ve-Hagevurah” –literally the “Day of (Remembrance of) the Holocaust and the Heroism.” It is marked on the 27th day in the month of Nisan–a week after the seventh day of Passover, and a week before Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day for Israel’s fallen soldiers).
The date was selected by the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) on April 12, 1951. The full name became formal in a law that was enacted by the Knesset on August 19, 1953. Although the date was established by the Israeli government, it has become a day commemorated by Jewish communities and individuals worldwide.
(In 2011, Yom Hashoah will begin at sundown on Sunday, May 1.)
Recently, however, I’ve learned about a second commemorative day. In 2005, the United Nations designated “27 January–the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp–as an annual International Day of Commemoration to honour the victims of the Holocaust.”
So today, too, we remember. And since I’m not pointing you to any links concerning my book, I humbly ask that you take just a few moments out of your day to click over to the International Holocaust Remembrance Day mini-site curated by Yad Vashem, “the Jewish people’s living memorial to the Holocaust” in Israel.