“Remember what Amalek did to you…when you were famished and weary, and cut down all the stragglers… Therefore, when Hashem your God grants you safety from all your enemies around you, in the land that Hashem your God is giving you as a hereditary portion, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. DO NOT FORGET!” (Deuteronomy 25:17-19)
We must never forget the horrific events of the Holocaust. Never in the history of humankind has there been such a brutal and well-organized genocide of one people. And we pray that it will never happen again.
Today, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is a day when we must ensure a Holocaust never happens again. It is also a day for the world’s nations to repent for participating in or passively allowing the Nazi atrocity against the People of Israel.
Here are five ways to commemorate the Holocaust and honor the 6 million men, women, children, and babies who were brutally murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators:
- Light a Candle or Do a Good Deed
“A man’s soul is the candle of God…” (Proverbs 20:27)
Lighting a candle or doing a kind deed for others brings spiritual light into the world. As we know, the most powerful way to fight darkness is to add light.
When you light a candle, have the souls of the 6 million men, women, and children who were killed in your mind and heart.
Before you do a good deed for another, have the intention to do it in the memory of those who perished simply because they were Jews.
- Watch a Holocaust Documentary
“But take utmost care…so that you do not forget the things that you saw with your own eyes and so that they do not fade from your mind as long as you live.” (Deuteronomy 4:9)
Watching documentaries about the Holocaust can help us understand how something so horrific could happen in a “civilized” society.
They prove the Holocaust DID happen, despite the claims of wicked Holocaust deniers.
Holocaust documentaries also help us see how the Holocaust still impacts our lives today.
These are our recommendations (for adults; much of the content in these documentaries is not suitable for children):
- Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State by Laurence Rees, Catherine Tatge
- Shoah by Claude Lanzmann
- Night and Fog by Alain Resnais
- One Survivor Remembers by Kary Antholis
- Survivors of the Holocaust by Allan Holzman
- Read a Holocaust Book
“Then God said to Moses, “Inscribe this in a scroll as a reminder, and read it aloud to Joshua…” (Exodus 17:14)
Reading books on the Holocaust is a great way to understand the history and context of the tragedy.
And even more valuable are the accounts of victims and survivors. There are hundreds of books out there, packed with thousands of compelling first-hand stories.
Search for Holocaust books online, or visit your local library or bookstore to find books that speak to you.
Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Night by Elie Weisel
- The Destruction of the European Jews by Raul Hilberg
- Judenrat by Isaiah Trunk
- The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
- Notes from the Warsaw Ghetto by Emanuel Ringelblum
- Recite Psalms for Holocaust Survivors
“I call on You; You will answer me, God; turn Your ear to me, hear what I say.” (Psalms 17:6)
Hundreds of thousands of Jews survived the Holocaust. Over seventy years later, most have departed this world.
The survivors still with us were children and teenagers during the Holocaust. Today, they are grandparents and great-grandparents in their 80s, 90s, and 100s. Imagine the memories they’ve lived with throughout their lives.
Reciting Psalms for these survivors – wishing them peace, strength, comfort, and healing – can bring them comfort and hope.
These Psalms are recommended (but reciting any Psalm is great):
20, 22, 30, 69, 79, 80, 83, 121, 130, 142, 150.
- Plant Trees in the Memory of Holocaust Victims
“There is hope for a tree; If it is cut down it will renew itself; Its shoots will not cease.” (Job 14:7)
The most tangible way to honor the 6 million killed in the Holocaust is to plant trees for them in Israel.
Trees symbolize growth, life, and renewal – a fitting tribute for those of all ages (including the unborn) whose lives were so brutally cut short.
Planting trees restores and beautifies the Land of Israel after centuries of destruction and neglect.
And tragically, Holocaust victims were murdered in Europe, robbing them of the chance to return to their Biblical homeland. When you plant trees in their memory, you’re giving them new life in the Land of Israel.
Plant trees in memory of the 6 million in our 10,000-tree forest TODAY!
These five ways of honoring Holocaust victims are the perfect way to observe International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2023.
But remembering is not enough; we must also help others remember. The Holocaust only ended 78 years ago, and the world still has much repentance to do.
By lighting candles, doing good deeds, watching documentaries, reading books, reciting Psalms, and planting trees in Israel, we can bring light, healing, and peace into our hearts and the hearts of all humanity.
May we never allow another Holocaust happen – ever again. Amen.