Holocaust Remembrance Day: When is it and how is it commemorated in Israel?

The day of remembrance was made official by law in Israel in 1959

Sabrina Barr@fabsab5
Thursday 02 May 2019 09:01
Israel marks Holocaust Remembrance Day

Holocaust Remembrance Day, otherwise known as Yom HaShoah in Hebrew, commemorates the deaths of approximately six million Jewish people during the genocide of the Holocaust in the Second World War.

The first Holocaust Remembrance Day took place in Israel in December 1949, a year and a half after the country established independence.

The occasion was marked with the burial of the bones of thousands of Jewish people in Jerusalem who died at the Flossenbürg concentration camp near Munich.

In 1959, Holocaust Remembrance Day was made an official observance by the Knesset, the national legislature of Israel.

Here's everything you need to know about Holocaust Memorial Day:

When is it?

This year, Holocaust Remembrance Day starts on the evening of Wednesday 1 May and ends on the evening of Thursday 2 May.

This observance is different to the International Holocaust Remembrance Day established by the United Nations in 2005, which takes place on 27 January every year.

The date of Holocaust Remembrance Day varies according to the Gregorian calendar.

The commemoration occurs on the 27th day of the month of Nisan, the first month of the Hebrew or Jewish lunisolar calendar.

If 27 Nisan falls on a Friday, then Holocaust Remembrance Day is held on the Thursday before.

Meanwhile if 27 Nisan falls on a Sunday, the observance is moved to the following day.

How is it commemorated in Israel?

In Israel, the commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance day begins with a ceremony at sundown at Yad Vashem, Israel's official memorial to victims of the Holocaust.

The ceremony will be attended by the president of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, and the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

It will also be attended by survivors of the Holocaust, their families, dignitaries and members of the general public.

The ceremony will be broadcast live on YouTube from 6pm GMT.

Services in observance of Yom HaShoah are held across Israel, in places including schools and military bases.

Furthermore, public venues including theatres, cinemas and bars are closed in commemoration of the event.

At 10am, an air raid siren is emitted across the country to mark the beginning of a two-minute silence.

How is it observed across the world?

Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorations are also held by Jewish communities across the world, in places including synagogues and Jewish schools.

In Poland, thousands of people take part in the "March of the Living", walking silently from Auschwitz to Birkenau in the largest Nazi concentration camp from the Second World War.

The march was first held in 1988.

Since then, more than 260,000 individuals from 52 countries have taken part in the 3km walk in honour of the victims of the Holocaust.

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