Today is Yom HaShoa or Holocaust Remembrance Day, to remember the people who lost their lives in World War II under the Nazi regime which had set in motion a plan to annihilate the Jewish people. Yad Vashem is a museum in Jerusalem, Israel, that has been dedicated to this remembrance so that the world will not forget the dangers that exist when a totalitarian government is set upon world domination as Hitler intended to accomplish. The idea of world domination is bad enough, but when a despotic leader cultivates a national hate towards one particular ethnic group and seeks every opportunity to rid the world of that people group, it ends in a holocaust.
During World War II, six million Jews lost their lives, of which 1.5 million were children. Hitler had constructed death camps where a steady stream of people entered and never left. They were told that they were being allowed to take showers, but instead they were locked into a room which had been outfitted as a gas chamber. Due to the enormous rates of human extermination, the millions of bodies were then cremated. Those that weren't cremated were cast into mass graves, stripped of their humanity and their dignity.
Today, Sunday, April 27, 2014 there will be services of remembrance at Yad Vashem with the State opening ceremony beginning at 8:00 p.m. Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day will be tomorrow, April 28, 2014.
Here in Illinois, there is also a museum dedicated to the same purposes, namely, never forgetting what happened to six million Jewish people. At the Illinois site, there is a section dedicated to the Chronology of the Holocaust. The following is just one event that was remembered:
March 8, 1944 - Filip Mueller, a Jewish inmate working in the gassing facilities at Auschwitz-Birkenau, describes the last moments of Czechoslovakian Jews from the family camp: "Suddenly a voice began to sing. Others joined in and the sound swelled into a mighty choir. They sang first the Czechoslovak national anthem and then the Hebrew song 'Hatikva' [Zionist anthem]. And all this time the SS men never stopped their brutal beatings. It was as if they [the SS] regarded the singing as a last kind of protest which they were determined to stifle if they could" (Illinois Holocaust Museum.)
The Illinois museum is located at 9603 Woods Drive, Skokie, Illinois 60077; and the times available to visit are: Weekdays 10 AM – 5 PM; Thursday evenings until 8 PM; and Weekends 11 AM – 4 PM. To call for ticket prices, please call 847-967-4800.