Coronavirus Leaves Imprint on Holocaust Remembrance Day

YERUSHALAYIM -
Yad Vashem Security guard stands at the empty Hall of Names in the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Yerushalayim, which remains closed on Holocaust Remembrance Day to due the coronavirus regulations, Monday. Ceremonies will be on social media. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, which started Monday night, became the latest in the long list of public events which have been denied their usual large gatherings due to coronavirus regulations.

For the first time, the annual ceremonies were held without an audience at Yad Vashem. Instead, the memorial institute invited the public “to participate in an international campaign to record themselves reciting the names of Holocaust victims, and share the video on social media.”

Remembrance Day proceedings were pre-recorded without an audience in Warsaw Ghetto Square at Yad Vashem on the Mount of Remembrance in Yerushalayim, to be broadcast in Israel on Tuesday. It will be available on the organization’s website in English, French, German, Russian and Spanish.

The March of the Living at Auschwitz was also cancelled due to the coronavirus, the first time in 32 years it has not taken place. This meant, among other things, that participants in the March would not be able to write a personal memorial message at the entrance to the death camp

But thousands of people from around the world, have in the past day, uploaded virtual memorial messages to a special memorial site established by the March of the Living organization and inaugurated by President Reuven Rivlin.

Among the postings that were made by both ordinary people and public figures:

Abigail Lurie, age 13 from Israel wrote, “I want us to remember and never forget. My grandfather, Aaron Lieberson, is a Holocaust survivor. He was born in the Theresienstadt extermination camp with his brother Avraham Lieberson, Hy”d. Not all children my age (13) are third generation descendants of Holocaust survivors, but I am. It’s difficult to explain how painful and sad this day is for me. Am Yisrael Hai. (The people of Israel live). We always remember.”

Amanda Meirowitz of Australia wrote, “To the members of my family whom I never met. I didn’t even know you existed, because the horror was buried very deep. Today I know who you are, all 49 of you. I will never forget you and what you had to endure, and I assure you that my children will never forget, too. Am Yisrael Hai.”

Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog wrote, “How fragile life is. We must be thankful for each day. The March of the Living – which takes place this year via computer and keyboard – reminds us of fragility of life and puts it in proportion. It lifts up the memory of those who perished. Every Jew and every community in the world today embraces Holocaust survivors in a warm, virtual hug! I personally light a memorial candle for Annette Goldberg from Paris, my father’s cousin, who perished in the Holocaust. May the memory of the 6 million be blessed and forever bound in the nation’s memory.