Holocaust Remembrance Week: April 27 - May 4, 2014

The first Holocaust Remembrance Day took place on December 28th, 1949, on a day designated by Israel. Because Israel wanted the holiday on a particular day of the Jewish calendar (so many days to mourn, how to choose?) The problem with choosing a day on the Jewish calendar – the exact date could vary from year to year for those not observing the Jewish calendar, similar to how the date for the Christian Easter varies from year to year, based on its relation to the Jewish Passover.

In November 1978 Jimmy Carter signed an executive order making April 28 and 29 official “Days of Remembrance of Victims of the Holocaust.” The date was chosen as the date in which U.S. troops liberated the Dachau Concentration Camp in 1945. The first of these days of remembrance was held in 1979 in a ceremony at the Capitol Rotunda, led by Carter.

Other nations have Holocaust Remembrance Days – but the dates vary by country, depending on the significant events for that country. France designated July 16 in remembrance of July 16, 1943 when the French police rounded up the Jews of Paris. Germany designated January 27 as ‘Day of Remembrance of the Victims of National Socialism.’ January 27 is the day the Red Army liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1945. Sweden, the UK and Greece also remember the Holocaust on January 27. 
In 2005, the United Nations designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The European Union followed suit, and now Israel designates January 27 as its ‘Official Day of Struggle against anti-Semitism.’

Sources: haaretz.com (Israeli news), ushmm.org,

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