(an interview with Mrs. PENINAH ZILBERMAN by Irina Airinei)
SINCE WHEN DO WE OBSERVE THIS DAY?
On January 24, 2005, a special session took place at the United Nations General
Assembly in memory of the 6 million Jews and the 11 million others who were murdered
by the Nazi Regime and its collaborators. This event marked the 60th Anniversary to the Liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp. The same year on November 1St ,2005 The United Nations General Assembly during their 42nd plenary session agreed as per resolution 60/7 to launch the observance of an “International Holocaust Day”
UN urges and encourages every Member/ Nation to honor the memory of Holocaust victims and survivors in developing educational programs about Holocaust history to prevent future acts of killings, massacres, murdering, starvations, annihilations and any similar methods the enemy chose!
WHO INITIATED/ INTRODUCED THE IDEA?
International Holocaust Day, was an initiative of the State of Israel by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Silvan Shalom, head of the Israeli delegation to the United Nations; resolution 60/7 November 2005.
WHAT’S THE SIGNIFICANCE OF JANUARY 27 DAY IN WORLDS HISTORY?
The largest Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz – Birkenau was liberated on Saturday, January 27, 1945 by the Soviet Red Army. This event marked the beginning of Holocaust Liberation and the end of the Holocaust.
HOW WOULD JANUARY 27TH BE OBSERVED IN 2021?
(Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all programs will be virtual.)
Since its inception, the observance which started as an only one day session developed into a whole week events among them launching of exhibits, unveiling sculptures, formal sessions with survivors and children of survivors sharing personal testimony etc.
Last year January 2020, Chelsea Football Club unveiled a mural by Solomon Souza on an outside wall of the West Stand at Stamford Bridge stadium to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day. The mural is part of Chelsea’s “Say No to Antisemitism” campaign funded by the club owner Roman Abramovich. Included on the mural are depictions of footballers Julius Hirsch and Árpád Weisz, who were murdered at Auschwitz concentration camp, and Ron Jones, a British prisoner of war known as the „Goalkeeper of Auschwitz”.
This year marks the 76th Anniversary to the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, the chosen theme for the commemoration programs is „Facing the Aftermath: Recovery and Reconstitution after the Holocaust”.
The theme examines the contribution of the society to the Holocaust victims and survivors, while addressing the needs of the contemporary world, and for the historical record of the Holocaust, to counter the global rising of antisemitism and the increasing levels of disinformation and hate speech.
Holocaust education and remembrance is urgently required, as is the development of a historical literacy to counter repeated attempts to deny and distort the history of the Holocaust.
It’s the first time, the United Nations together with UNESCO are organizing a series of events with International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
The Commemorative series events will open with a panel discussion on Holocaust denial and distortion broadcasted by UNTV and CNN, as well a unique exhibition will be launched in Paris.
ANY OTHER HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAYS OBSERVED?
Definitely, countries of the Allies army, countries where the atrocities took place, the State of Israel, Austria and Germany –where the Nazi Regime initiated the Holocaust!
ISRAEL – Yom Ha’Shoah is observed on the 27th day of Nisan, the Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. In 2021 Yom Ha’Shoah will be observed in April
AUSTRIA Commemorations Programs are held since 2012 in Vienna
FRANCE Commemorations Programs are held since 2003 in Paris
GERMANY Commemorations Programs are held since 2001 in Berlin
ROMANIA Commemorations Programs are held since 2004 in Bucharest
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Commemorations Programs are held since 1994 in Washington DC United Kingdom Commemorations Programs are held since 2001 in London
In conclusion I trust as a holocaust survivors’ daughter that all future generations will continue to observe the International Holocaust Remembrance Day while keeping in mind its greater purpose and implications.
Founder & CEO, BA Jewish History, Judaic Teacher (United synagogue of America), Principal of Hebrew After School (Conservative), Director of Holocaust Museum in Toronto, Organizer of National Professional conferences across Canada; Served as Sisterhood President-Adath Israel Synagogue, IGS past Chair Modiin Chapter, Israel.
Peninah is the daughter of Romanian Holocaust survivors. Her mother Sary Walter Z”L was originally from Sighet and her late father from Bucharest.
Born in Israel, Peninah has been coming to Sigeht since 1998. After organsiging the first Gathering in 2014, she is now promoting Tarbut Foundation’s objectives and campaigns. Her work is motivated by the memory of the Walter family, who lived in Sighet for nearly 200 years before they, along with the vast majority of the Jews of Maramures, were deported to and then murdered in the Auschwitz extermination camp.