Holocaust Article Bookmarks
On April 12, 1951, the Israeli Knesset established the Holocaust and Ghetto Uprising Remembrance Day - a Day of Perpetual Remembrance for the House of Israel. Later on it was shortened to Yom Hashoah.(1)
The Hebrew name for this holiday is Yom Hashoah which means Holocaust Remembrance Day. Sometimes it is translated as Day of the Holocaust.
Since the events of the Holocaust came after the Bible was written there is no direct biblical reference to it. There is, however, prophetic scriptural reference to an even greater holocaust. See section on prophetic future holocaust.
This is a holiday that all Jews wish never had to be initiated. It is a time set aside to remember the events that happened during World War II in the prisoner concentration camps in Germany. Yom Hashoah was created to help us never forget that approximately six million Jews were executed by Hitler's soldiers during this time. This amounted to approximately one third of world Jewry being destroyed by the time the war ended in 1945.(2)
The Israeli government declared the 27th of Nissan as Yom Hashoah, also known as the day of total destruction. One reason this date may have been selected was that some people wanted it to come close to and before Yom HaAtzmaut, which is the celebration of Israel becoming a Jewish homeland.
The Chief Rabbinate of Israel fixed a fast day of the Tenth of Tevet as a general day of reciting the Kaddish prayer, in memory of those murdered in the Holocaust, many of whose date of death is not known. Yom HaShoah is marked on the Hebrew date of Nisan 27th, the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.(3)
Many Jews who live outside of Israel observe Yom HaShoah on April 19th, because this is the Gregorian calendar date of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.
In January 2006 The United Nations set January 27 as the date for International Holocaust Memorial Day, a first for the world body.
This date may also have been chosen because on Jan. 27, 1945 Russian troops liberated the notorious Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.(4)
The holidays Yom Hashoah and Yom HaAtzmaut belong together because the creation of Israel was partially a response to the Holocaust. It also comes after Nissan 14, the traditional date of the Warsaw uprising. With the observed date falling in between the Warsaw uprising and Yom HaAtzmaut, it may have seemed like the easiest way to make the most amount of people happy, who had a difference of opinion as to when the holiday should be observed.
The internationally recognized date comes from the Hebrew calendar and corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan on that calendar. It marks the anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising. In Hebrew, Holocaust Remembrance Day is called Yom Hashoah. When the actual date of Yom Hashoah falls on a Friday, the state of Israel observes Yom Hashoah on the preceding Thursday. When it falls on a Sunday, Yom Hashoah is observed on the following Monday.(5)
Since this holiday is not very old, its traditions are still being created. We cannot reenact the events of the Holocaust (like Passover or Sukkot) nor would we want to. We can, however, try to be creative and respectful in our remembrance.
Some people drink out of plain clay cups as a sign of poverty. Some make it a fast day, or eat food that is tasteless, or eat smaller portions than usual. Some people fast from speaking instead of eating to reflect their mood. A lot of congregations and communities now hold some type of service that includes candle lighting or a walk of remembrance. Some college campuses are reading names of the prisoners who died in the camps during all night readings that give the public, including non-Jewish students, their chance to participate.
In Israel, loud sirens sound off over the entire country in memory of those who died. There is a two-minute siren blast that everyone respects by completely stopping whatever they are doing and standing still. It is common to see wreaths to remember the dead. Music that is played is of a solemn nature. Extra prayers are said, and speeches are made by the eternal flame that burns in memory of the holocaust victims. It is common for entertainment establishments to close, some closing the night before. Some people donate money to Holocaust projects or museums.
March Of The Living: In Europe, several thousand young Jews are participating in the traditional three-kilometer "March of the Living." The march begins from the site of the former German concentration camp Auschwitz and retraces the steps that Jews were forced to take on their way to the gas chambers at the Birkenau death camp, the largest that the Nazis operated.(3) Read why one Rabbi has become a March Of The Living Critic.
This is a good time of the year to discuss a book like The Diary of Ann Frank.
Some Jews, including some sects of the ultra orthodox, do not commemorate this holiday. They feel that there are already enough holidays that commemorate a tragic event in Jewish history.(2)
Somebody wanting to kill the Jews is not unique in any way. Anti-Semites (people who hate Jews) existed in Europe long before Hitler. The success that Adolph Hitler had is unique. Hitler was motivated by at least two factors, power and his desire to eliminate the Jews. This attempted extermination of a race, while much of the world stood by and looked the other way, is something that sets this event apart from all other events in history. Never before have so many Jews died in one period of time in such an inhumane way. This holiday is unique for all the wrong reasons.
Many people wonder where God was during the Holocaust. Did He allow it, did He even cause it? I believe God's mercy and kindness can be found if looked for. We cannot understand God completely, because His ways are not our ways. If you believe that the Lord is sovereign, then you believe that for whatever the reasons, God allowed this to happen. God has allowed other tragedies to happen to Israel (and others) in the past, such as the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. Sometimes people look for God in the wrong place. Perhaps, for Yom Hashoah, instead of looking for Him in the beginning of the Holocaust wondering why He didn't prevent it, we should look for Him at the end (what a great God for ending this evil plot before it was completely successful).
Some people perceive the murders of the Holocaust as being carried out with the consent of the church, or Christianity. There were a few church leaders who spoke out against such atrocities despite great risk to themselves. The majority of the churches did little to go against Hitler's views and remained quiet protecting themselves. That is why some people think that, to some extent, Christianity looked the other way. Hitler was never officially excommunicated from the Catholic Church, and some soldiers believed they were killing Christ killers the same way the Crusaders thought centuries earlier.
Many Jews view this lack of response from Christianity as poor judgment at best and as an unforgivable, supportive silence at worst. It is understandable then (but regrettable), that because of the quietness and lack of response from many churches, along with other historical anti-Semitism that had Christian support, why Judaism doesn't embrace what they perceive to be Christianity. This remains a sensitive issue for some still today. What Jesus taught is often misrepresented as well as misunderstood.
Anti-Semitism has been around a long time. A brief historical examination of it, when involving political and religious leaders, can help us to understand why some Jews have developed a cautious outlook. Christians anti-Semitism has been an obstacle to the one thing that true Christians should strive for. The Christian should be proclaiming Jesus love for the Jew (and everyone else). Forced baptism and executions in the name of Jesus, are only a small example of the failures of the "church" over the last 2000 years. The History Of Church Anti-Semitism is something that can and should be learned from.
The Original Christ Followers began as a sect of Judaism. They were eventually referred to as Christians (Christ followers). A Christian is someone who embraces Jesus' teachings and tries to live as Jesus wanted us to live (to love God and also love our neighbor). Christians receive the blessing of being grafted into the tree of life. This life is an eternal life with God in heaven. Through the atoning blood that Jesus shed on the cross as our substitutionary sacrifice a Christian knows they are forgiven. There are many people who claim to be "Christians," however, not all who claim to be Christians, know Jesus or have an understanding of what the greatest Rabbi who ever lived taught to His students. Consider what Matthew 7:21-23 teaches.
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers! (Matthew 7:21-23)."
It is of the utmost importance that both Jews and Gentiles understand the true teachings of our Messiah.
Jesus taught love, plain and simple. When asked what the greatest commandment in the Old Testament was, Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (Mat. 22:37). Jewish people recognize a similar passage of scripture known as the Shema and many recite it daily (Deut. 6:5). For a better understanding of the Shema prayer please read Lessons From The Shema.
When asked what the second greatest commandment was, Jesus replied, ''Love your neighbor as yourself (Mat. 22:39)," Jesus was drawing upon Lev. 19:18 for this answer.
Jesus taught love to the fullest extent. One thing Jesus taught about our enemies is, "But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Mat.5:44)."
It is because of love that Jesus is here in the first place.
It is easy to see that the real Christians, those that follow the teaching of Jesus, would have never killed Jews in the name of Christ. People who claim to be associated with Christianity, while at the same time kill others in the name of Jesus, promote a religion that is not authentic Christianity. This has been one reason why Christianity has not seemed very inviting to Jews and understandably so.
People of faith are constantly being offered a closer relationship with God. Some choose to embrace Gods teachings while others choose to embrace something else.
Consider the survivors of the holocaust. Some blamed God and walked away from the very faith that put them there in the first place. Other survivors embraced God by returning to the practice of their faith and helped to fulfill the vision of a Jewish State of Israel.
Some of the survivors of the Holocaust went on to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, some of which are now leading others to their Messiah, all guided by the master potter's hand. There is a video that has been made that shares some of these survivor stories. To find out more about these survivor stories which include faith in their Messiah go to Holocaust Survivor Stories. This reminds us that even in the most terrible events, some good can be found.
There has always been a remnant of the Jewish people since Abraham. There has always been a remnant of Messianic Jews since Jesus, starting with the disciples. This is a group God has always seemed to keep alive, so that they can be a living testimony to others, both Jewish and Gentile. This testimony includes not only the good news of the Gospel, but also the good news to other Jews that believing in Jesus is the most Jewish thing a Jew can do. For More on this please read The Remnant.
The Holocaust was a tragic event. Not just for Jewish history but for mankind as well. There have been museums built and annual commemorative holidays enacted to help the world to never forget. While most of the world recognizes the holocaust as something that one nation should never do against another nation, there is reason to believe that it will happen again.
Both the Old Testament and the New Testament prophesy about a time still yet to come. This is the same period of time revealed at first to Old Testament prophets and then again in further detail to New Testament prophets. The Old Testament refers to this time as The Time Of Jacob's Trouble (Jer 30:7). This time is also known as Daniel's 70th week. For more on the The Daniel prophecy please read Israel In The 70th Week.
The New Testament refers to this time as the Tribulation Period (Book of Revelation).
It lasts for seven years with the second three and a half years being the worst. It is a time described as the worst in man's history on earth. There will be war that is unparalleled. It involves war with nations referred to as Gog and Magog. Eventually, we can prophetically see the rest of the world at political and spiritual odds with Israel. As this war goes on (often referred to as the battle of Armageddon), there are many more people who die than the total number who died during not only the holocaust but also the entire WW II.
Eventually, at the end of the seventh year, when it seems like Israel has no chance to survive, the Messiah will come and save Israel. For Jews, this is viewed as the first coming of the Messiah. For Christians, it is the same event but viewed as His Second Coming. At this time, both Christianity and Judaism will be at harmony because the Messiah will not only teach but rule from His kingly throne from Jerusalem in His full majesty.
While most people do not want these tragic events of war and genocide to happen, the fact that God wrote about them in the prophetic teachings of the Bible means that it may come true. Every promise God makes must come true sooner of later, even if we don't agree with it.
Zechariah prophesied about it in Zech.13:8-9. Here, he predicts that up to two thirds of Jews could loose their lives. God, through His grace, does keep one third alive as the living remnant to be saved. Daniel prophesied about it in Dan. 12:1. New Testament authors Matthew (Matt.24:21) and John (most of Book of Revelation) confirmed that it was still to come. God's message has been consistent. Both the length (seven years) and the results are the same in all the prophecies. They combine to give us an image of what is yet still to come. For more on this check out Israel In End Time Prophecy.
If you are not sure where you stand with God, now is the time to examine that relationship.
Some pages of interest related to Israel's comming tribulation include:
Light a candle in honor of those who lost their lives. Let your Jewish friends know the true teaching of Jesus and that you know the church was misguided by not stepping in or speaking up. Show them you understand what it means when they say it should happen "NEVER AGAIN." You can take part with your Jewish friends in a public reading of victims' names. This is a time to come alongside your Jewish friends and show them that you are saddened by the Holocaust too. After all, you should be, Jesus is Jewish.
Educational Holocaust Links
|United States Holocaust Memorial Museumushmm.org/|
|National Holocaust Memorial Center Yad Vashem http://www.yadvashem.org/|
|Jewish Virtual Library http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/holo.html|
Never Forget what happened or history may repeat itself.
Some consider Kristallnact the true beginning to the Holocaust.
Ovadia Yosefs a Mizrahi Haredi rabbi, Talmudic scholar, and recognized halakhic authority. He is the former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, He is highly revered in the religious world, especially in the Sephardi and Mizrahi communities, for his erudition and Torah scholarship. In 2000, he described the Holocaust as God's retribution against the reincarnated soul of Jewish sinners: "The six million Holocaust victims were reincarnations of the souls of sinners, people who transgressed and did all sorts of things that should not be done. They had been reincarnated in order to atone."(6) While these kind of comments are thought to be wrong and misguided in does show a small amount of radical teaching even inside of Judaism today.
Articles of intersest include:
For a list of future holidays dates check the Master Calendar Table.
1). Encyclopedia Judaica
2). The Feast of Israel by Bruce Scott of Friends of Israel Ministries.
3). Arutz Sheva News 4-16-2007
4). International Fellowship of Christians and Jews 1-25-2008 daily email.
6). CNN Aug 6th 2000 (Wikpedia).
Jude Star at top of page from jewishmuseum.org.uk