Yom HaShoah

Today is Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, in Israel. Racism has been in the news a lot of the last year or so, and yet we hear very little of the fact that anti-semitism is on the rise.

I have visited Israel twice. It’s a place that quickly won my heart with it’s beauty and history. Last time I was there was in 2014 and I was able to visit Yad Vashem, The World Holocaust Remembrance Center. To this day when I think about my visit the feelings come flooding back.

The museum which tells of all the events that took place across Europe overwhelmed me to the point that I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to walk to the end and find a place to sit down. After a cup of tea our group then visited the memorial which names all the people who died. It was just as overwhelming. A friend who was part of our party was able to find the names of her family members in the memorial and so the Holocaust became even more of a reality to me. We learn all about the atrocities of World War 2 in our history lessons, but until there is a personal connection with the events it’s hard for it to feel like a reality. My Grandad once wrote me a letter about what he did when he fought in the War, it made the war a reality to me and not just something to learn about. Seeing my friend find her family members in the memorial had a similar effect.

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this post, other than to say I will remember them. I hope you will too, and I hope that together we can all make sure that something like it is never repeated.

There are very few Jews left who survived the Holocaust, so we must find ways to make those connections with history a reality for the generations who cannot hear first hand what it was like. I think the stories of family members will play a crucial role in that. Let’s make sure it never happens again.

Phil Bowell

Phil Bowell

Cheltenham, UK