YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – International Holocaust Remembrance Day is January 27. The day is set aside to honor the millions of people murdered under the Nazi regime headed by Adolph Hitler.
More than 6 million Jewish people were killed during the Holocaust. That’s roughly the entire population of the state of Missouri.
The United Nations established the International Holocaust Remembrance Day as a way to honor the memory of those who died. Now, some people say remembering those who suffered and died is vital to help combat a rise in anti-Semitic crime.
The Anti-Defamation League has been tracking anti-Semitic crimes since 1979. They say 2019 saw one of the highest crime years on record. Assaults went up nearly 60% in 2019.
“We’re seeing a rise internationally and nationally in anti-Semitism. We’ve been in the insurrection at the Capitol, in other areas related to the pandemic where Holocaust imagery has been co-opted to promote messages that promote hate,” said Bonnie Deutsch Burdman, spokesperson for the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation.
Statistics like these are why people say days of remembrance are so important. They remind people of the terrible things humanity is capable of and to keep from repeating the past.
“We place a huge emphasis on remembering the past for the sake of the future,” Deutsch Burdman said. “You can’t have too many days of the year where we remember these horrible lessons and teach them for the sake of making the world a better place and moving forward.”
There are actually two Holocaust remembrance occasions each year. The first is January 27 and the second is in the spring.
“Yom HaShoah is based on the Jewish calendar, and it became a holiday in Israel that has also been internationally recognized,” Deutsch Burdman said.
As more survivors of the Holocaust pass away from old age, the Youngstown Jewish Federation has compiled their first-hand accounts.
“Over the years, we’ve spent time recording their stories. We’ve created various memorial and traveling exhibits and short films about these individuals who are from the Mahoning Valley,” Deutsch Burdman said.
The work allows the lessons of history to remain fresh, but its horrors can remain in the past.
The Youngstown Jewish Federation provides these survivor stories upon request. You are encouraged to reach out to them directly.