It is our duty to commemorate the six million Jews who perished under the Nazi tyranny and honour those who managed to survive, keeping in mind the Holocaust. The Holocaust Remembrance Day, also called Yom Hashoah Ve-Hagevurah, has been created in order to recall and honour those who fought, suffered and died, but most crucially to observe the importance of remembering.1 January 27th, as established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005, is the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a very meaningful day for all Jews and “minority groups” mistreated by the Nazi epoch.2 The date was specifically chosen in remembrance of the anniversary of the liberation of the largest Nazi death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau by the United Nations, who entirely discards the Holocaust: accusing all discrimination or violence on ethnic or religious basis. For this reason each nation member of the U.N is forced to respect the memory of the Holocaust and its sufferers, and to avoid future genocides is also expected to develop educational programs.3
The most well-known tribute to the remembrance of the Holocaust in the world is the museum Yad Vashem, the official memorial in Israel, of all Jewish victims, founded in 1953. 4 It is the second most visited tourist site after the Western Wall in Israel, exceeding 800,000 visitors in 2009. The immense structure contains: the Holocaust History Museum, The Museum of Holocaust Art, The Children’s Memorial and the Hall of Remembrance, but also sculptures, a synagogue, outdoor commemorative sites as the Valley of the Communities, archives, a research institute, libraries, a publishing house and The International School for Holocaust Studies, an educational centre.5 There are also other important museums as for example: The U.S Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C; which offers leadership training programs, teaching millions of people the consequences brought by unrestrained hatred, 6 and The Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance, situated in Belgium on an old Nazi assembly camp.7 Another of the most famous museums is the Auscwitz-Bikenau Memorial and Museum, an overwhelming experience which leads people though a tour around the concentration camp letting them experience and understand the place fully by offering, in addition, educational activities.8 Lastly another highly recommended site to visit is the Anna Frank Museum Amsterdam, in which visitors are able to see the secret annex in which the young Jewish girl went into hiding and wrote her world famous dairy.9
Books are one of the most common ways of remembering the tragedy. Many of the people who survived felt the need to let other people know their stories, publishing true narratives describing those hard years and keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive. A clear example of this is “Anna Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anna Frank, which manages to influence the reader emotionally making him relate personally to the story. I have also really enjoyed: “Survival in Auschwitz” by Primo Levi, an autobiography of an anti-fascist Italian Jew survivor of Auscwitz and “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” by John Boyne, an excellent touching childhood fiction novel which reminds people of the atrocities of which humans are capable.
Movies have been a useful vehicle to visually represent the genocide. Spielbergs film: “Schindler’s List” is a seven Academy Award-winning film, which describes the true story of an extraordinary man who managed to save million of lives proving the power individuals can have in certain situations.10 “The Pianist” directed by Polanski is another incredible true story of a Jewish pianist who managed to survive the Holocaust, winning three Oscars. I truly enjoyed “Life is Beautiful” of Roberto Benigni, which begins as a playful comedy, ending however on a lower tone.
"You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find warm food
And friendly faces when you return home.
Consider if this is a...
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