Yom HaShoah, many and one

Great tragedies dating back to ancient times are commemorated.

Yom HaShoah, many and one
Picture credit: jewishledger.org

After I published the three-part, Yom HaShoah 2023 series, over the days leading up to International Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January, a friend in Israel was kind enough to make me aware that the Shoah is commemorated differently on several different dates. I had, mistakenly, called International Holocaust Memorial Day, on 27 January, Yom HaShoah, which falls on 19 April, today. The United Nations inaugurated International Holocaust Memorial Day to coincide with the day Soviet troops liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp complex in Poland. International Holocaust Memorial Day is marked in many countries, including Israel.

The date of Yom HaShoah is set in the Hebrew calendar at 27 Nisan (April/May), roughly coinciding with the start of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising on Erev Passover on 14 Nisan. My friend explained that Yom HaShoah is the official Israeli commemoration of this tragedy. Yesterday POLIN, the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, opened its special exhibition “Around Us a Sea of Fire. The Fate of Jewish Civilians During the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising,” that runs through to 8 January 2024.

In Israel, many Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox communities commemorate the Shoah on 9 Av, called simply Tisha B’Av, 9th of Av (July/August), the traditional date on which great tragedies dating back to ancient times are commemorated, including the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE and the Second Temple in 70 CE, as well as other tragedies such as the Bar Kochba Revolt and the Crusades. Additionally, after the Second World War, the Orthodox Rabbinate in Israel also began to commemorate the Shoah on 10 Tevet (December/January), a day of fasting that marks the beginning of the Babylonian Siege of Jerusalem in 588 BCE.

Finally, in the German-speaking world, Jews and non-Jews alike commemorate the Shoah to coincide with Kristallnacht, 9 November, commemorated as the Novemberpogrom.

On the night of November 9, 1938, Nazi leadership as well as civilians attacked synagogues and Jewish institutional buildings, as well as businesses and even private property across what is today Germany and Austria. Some 30,000 Jewish men were brought to concentration camps, in what is widely understood to be the first mass imprisonment of Jews in the camp system.[1]

Many and one.


  1. Paige Harouse, "All the Holocaust Memorial Days Explained," My Jewish Learning, https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/all-the-holocaust-memorial-days-explained/?utm_source=mjl_maropost&utm_campaign=MJL&utm_medium=email


20 April 2023, 06:35  גילית וייס-קלמנוביץ

Hello my dear friend,

I've read your blog and I felt the need to clarify some points.

In 1949, the Chief Rabbinate Council and the Ministry of Religion determined that this day would be the general Kaddish day in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. This decision expresses the view that the destruction of European Jewry is an inseparable part of the killing and destruction that has befallen the people of Israel since the dawn of history.

In 1951, the Knesset has already set the date and some ceremonies were held. Only later, in 1959, after a lot of stress from the survivors, did the Israeli government decide to set a new date. The law passed only in 59.

Initially, it was intended to set the day of remembrance for the Holocaust and heroism on the day of the outbreak of the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto, however the date of the outbreak of the uprising is April 19, 1943 - the 14th of Nisan, the eve of Passover, a date that is not suitable for a national day of remembrance.

Therefore, in April 1959, the Knesset decided to designate the 27th day of Nisan - six days after the end of Passover - as the "Day of Remembrance for the Holocaust and the Ghetto Uprising". Its proximity to Memorial Day and Independence Day symbolically expresses the historical transition of the Jewish people from the Holocaust to the resurrection.

Tisha Be'av is usually not devoted to the Holocaust.

I heard a very interesting lecture of how to divide the messages we focus on around the 3 dates, and the idea is as follows:

On 10th of Tevet, we speak about the Jewish aspect.

On 27th of January, we speak about the universal aspect, the moral obligation to to be a human being, to look and care for each other, equality for all people around the world.

On the Israeli Yom HaShoah we stress the national Israeli aspects. That way, every date has its own focus.

Love you ❤