Remember those who died, through online Shoah sites

This year on April 9, people will pause to remember the millions of Jews who perished in the Holocaust. The Internet is an excellent source of thought-provoking materials that can help you in your observance of Yom HaShoah, the Day of Remembrance.

The decision to commemorate Yom HaShoah on the 27th day of Nisan was the result of a great deal of negotiation soon after the state of Israel was established. According to, this time of year was selected in order to coincide with the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. But since the uprising began on the first night of Passover in 1943, it was decided that Yom HaShoah should fall in late Nisan, after Passover but within the time span of the event. On April 12, 1951, the Knesset proclaimed Yom HaShoah U'Mered HaGetaot (Holocaust and Ghetto Revolt Remembrance Day) to be the 27th of Nisan. The name later became known as Yom HaShoah Ve Hagevurah (Devastation and Heroism Day) and even later simplified it to Yom HaShoah. You can read the story at

Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem, has prepared some activities for Yom HaShoah. This year's theme is "Their Last Voice: Letters and Testimonials from Jews in the Holocaust." You can read the last testament of people who perished in the Shoah. You can also commemorate Yom HaShoah by downloading and filling out Pages of Testimony to document the people who were murdered during the war. And while on the site, you can also visit a fascinating page that surveys which countries and cities around the world have proclaimed official Holocaust memorial days. Go to the Web site — — and click on the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day photo on the left.

Virtual Jerusalem — — looks at how to observe the day and includes English translations of the powerful Yizkor and the El Maleh Rachamim prayers that were prepared to commemorate those who perished. And the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum — — offers a great deal of background about the Shoah, with several suggestions for people who would like to organize remembrance ceremonies.

You can find many other superb resources about the Shoah on the Internet. I recommend the award-winning Nizkor Project, created by Canada's Ken McVay — –Amcha, Israel's Center for Holocaust Survivors and the Second Generation — — and, a Cybrary of the Holocaust —

Many Yom HaShoah sites focus on how new generations are coming to terms with the horrors of the Holocaust. At the Teen-to-Teen Web site, you can read about teenagers' thoughts after visiting Holocaust museums and meeting survivors of the Shoah. Here is how Nathan Lyons described meeting Auschwitz survivor Noah Klieger: "It was amazing but he was just a person. Except that when I went over his story and realized that this same body, same eyes had stumbled across corpses of dead Jews and seen shootings and hangings; for him they were not photos in a book or plain words or our naive approximations of events… they were his life." The site is at

Every year thousands of young people travel to Poland to visit the death camps. Even if you will never be part of a March of the Living, it is worth a look at the Web site to see how teenagers prepare for the emotions and the horrors that await them. The Web site — — is part history lesson and part explanation of the unexplainable.

Many sites not only ask different questions about the past, but also ask challenging questions about the future of Holocaust observances. Professor David Roskies and Chancellor Ismar Schorsch of the Jewish Theological Seminary debate the need for ritual commemoration and ask, "How Much Holocaust is too much?" at

And half a century after the end of the Shoah, Rabbi Eliezer Shore asks "how long the burden of hatred?" He remembers that "in our home German was synonymous with Nazi. We did not buy German products, we had no German acquaintances. Nor were we alone in our feelings. All our Jewish neighbors felt this way." Those lines — at shoah1.htm — are taken from "When Should we Stop Hating?" a thought-provoking Yom HaShoah booklet created by the Orthodox Union's Pardes Institute. Along with quotations from traditional Jewish sources, users of the booklet are challenged to come to terms with difficult questions about the Shoah, hatred, revenge and forgiveness.