Yom HaShoah: a sacred time to remember

As a rule, Jews prefer to celebrate life. However, on Yom HaShoah we take time — sacred time — to remember the dead.

The number “6 million” is an easy figure to utter, yet more than 60 years after the last camp was liberated, the full dimensions of the Holocaust remain difficult to comprehend, even for us. Thus we set aside one day — this year it’s Tuesday, April 25 — to reflect on the terrible price paid by the Jewish people for a nation’s madness.

Yom HaShoah remembrances are an important part of the Bay Area Jewish community’s commitment to honor the murdered millions. We urge our readers to attend any one of many Yom HaShoah events taking place across the region. This week’s j. includes a listing of some of them. Pick one and go.

Our cover story this week focuses on the second generation: the adult children of Holocaust survivors. Their stories are laced with pain, but also with hope. Many among the second generation take seriously the legacy of their parents, and have been active in Holocaust organizations here and nationwide.

That’s good news, because the survivors are getting older, their numbers fewer with each passing year. While many have already told their stories, either as written memoirs or as participants in oral history projects like the Shoah Foundation’s Visual History video archive, many others have not preserved their accounts. Their children and grandchildren now may be the best repository for those untold tales of sorrow.

We applaud the important, ongoing efforts of the Holocaust Center of Northern California, Café by the Bay, Generation to Generation, Jewish Family and Children’s Services and other local organizations that do much of the heavy lifting when it comes to Holocaust remembrance and providing services to survivors and their families. As time slowly erases firsthand memory, these groups will ensure that the world never forgets what happened.

Unfortunately, too many people already have. The Holocaust deniers, the revisionists, the haters around the world all continue to brew their poison, working tirelessly to finish the grim work started by the Nazis. They will not succeed, because enough people in the world stand with us.

Meanwhile, on this day especially, we stand with the survivors to honor their courage and to remember the fallen.

And we say together with them, “Never again!”