By: R.Frizi "Yad Ezer Lechaver" News reporterFor the rest of the world, Holocaust Remembrance Day is every January, when the Allied armies liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. In Israel, however, this occasion is held in the spring. For Israelis, this year’s Yom HaShoah– Holocaust Remembrance Day – falls on the 5th of May; since the date is fixed in the Jewish calendar, it changes from year to year in the Western calendar.Inaugurated in 1953 and anchored in a law signed by the Prime-Minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion and President Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, the originally-proposed date was the 14th of Nisan, the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising (April 19, 1943). The timing was problematic, however, because it fell right after Passover. So the date was moved to the 27th of Nisan, eight days before Israeli Independence Day.Every year on Yom HaShoah, "Yad Ezer Lechaver" hosts a special ceremony at our Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors, which is attended by many dignitaries from Haifa and other cities, including Rabbis and political figures, groups of students, soldiers and other Israeli servicemen and women.Yudit Herskowitz: I lost all my family in Auschwitz. When we arrived in Auschwitz, we were separated and we saw smoke, but we had no idea what was happening. I am the only one of my whole extended family that came out alive. I’m still trying to find out what happened to each one of them. Every year at Holocaust Memorial Day I am glued to the TV, hoping to see if I might find something out about my family.On this day is when I hold a personal memorial for all those I lost.Genia Swartzbert: Every week I light 5 candles. Three for my family that perished and two for the Russian women who saved my life. We should not forget the good things, and we should not forget the bad things.Chava Herskowitz: It is a very difficult day. When my children were little and still living with me, I tried not to be with them when the sirens went off [for one minute of silence], because I would always cry. We didn’t want to burden our children with our past and wanted them to be happy, so for many years we never told them the things we went through. It is a day I think about my family that was murdered and I say the mourner’s prayer. It is like visiting their grave on that day.Shimon Sabag: All of Israel is one and remembers what happened on Yom HaShoah. One third of the Jews in Europe were killed. On this day we remember the families who were murdered. Many have no grave to go to and mourn. It is an important day to learn from – they wanted to destroy the Jewish people, and the world didn't believe it would happen. We hear these voices even today. We need to be alert and learn from the past, so it will never happen again.
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