Yom Hashoa: Memorial and remembrance of the Holocaust

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Wednesday April 27th the Jewish Community of Aruba, Beth Israel Synagogue commemorated the six million Jews slaughtered during the Holocaust. This day is called Yom Hashoah in Hebrew.

The evening started with a service, where members of the Congregation and guests like the President of Parliament of Aruba, Mr. Edgard Vrolijk, the Representative of the Netherlands in Aruba, Mr. David Abrahams and the Honorary Consul of Israel to Aruba, Mrs. Martha Lichtenstein were present.

During the service Rabbi Baruch Zeilicovich, Spiritual Leader of Beth Israel shared his thoughts around this day: “The word Holocaust is today the way we name the massacre of the Jews by the Nazis, and it will stay that way. But what really happened is called a Genocide: the intend to erase an entire nation from the face of the earth. It is a shame that we didn’t learn, we didn’t get the message.

Unfortunately, this is not the only one. Indigenous nations from both North and South America, Rwanda, Sarajevo, makes the wish, the prayer of a “Never Again” is hard to believe in, even now, men, women and children are slaughtered and are forced to leave a war driven Ukraine.

As the service concluded, six memorial candles were lit. Each candle representing one million jews.

The first candle was lit by Rabbi Baruch Zeilicovich as Spiritual Leader and representing the lost souls of the Holocaust.

The second candle was lit by the President of Parliament of Aruba, Mr. Vrolijk as the highest-ranking dignitary of Aruba to develop and safeguard educational programs to help prevent future Genocides.

The third candle was lit by Honorary Consul of Israel in Aruba, Mrs. Martha Lichtenstein, representing the promise kept after the Second World War: The Land of Israel.

The fourth candle was lit by the Dutch Representative to Aruba, Mr. Abrahams, representing the “Righteous among nations” who were the people that chose to help rescue Jews with great harm to themselves.

The sixth candle was lit by Mrs. Raquel van der Weide, member of the Congregation, representing the foundation of Jewish life in Aruba.

And the last candle was lit by Nathanael Croes, youngest member of the Congregation present, who represents the future and continuity of Jewish life in Aruba.

The evening concluded with the documentary GENOCIDE, a documentary of 1982 narrated by Orson Welles and Elizabeth Taylor that features footage and interviews with survivors from various interment camps. The documentary is a celebration of courage and hope as well as harrowing glimpse into the social and political climate that eventually led to the Holocaust.

As we face a new form of antisemitism under the custom of anti-Zionism and even Holocaust deniers. One thing is certain: Whoever denies the Holocaust is killing the victims again.