This year on April 8, the United States will observe Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust (DRVH). This coincides with Yom HaShoah in the State of Israel, which is observed from sunset on April 7 to sundown on April 8.
The commemoration is led by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC and supported by Jewish organizations throughout the country.
Days of Remembrance in the United States was first proposed in 1978 and then established by executive order by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. At the time, he charged Holocaust survivor and writer Elie Wiesel with creating a commission to oversee the memorial each year. In his speech at the time, President Carter spoke these moving words about the purpose of these Days of Remembrance:
“Although words do pale, yet we must speak. We must strive to understand. We must teach the lessons of the Holocaust. And most of all, we ourselves must remember.
We must learn not only about the vulnerability of life but of the value of human life. We must remember the terrible price paid for bigotry and hatred and also the terrible price paid for indifference and for silence. ...
To truly commemorate the victims of the Holocaust, we must harness the outrage of our memories to banish all human oppression from the world. We must recognize that when any fellow human being is stripped of humanity; when any person is turned into an object of repression; tortured or defiled or victimized by terrorism or prejudice or racism, then all human beings are victims, too.
The world's failure to recognize the moral truth forty years ago permitted the Holocaust to proceed. Our generation—the generation of survivors—will never permit the lesson to be forgotten.”
Here at the Undaunted Foundation, we echo these words. We must be intentional and relentless in our amplification of survivor’s voices, in educating our youth and striving for equity in all forms. We hope you will join us in our observance of this solemn day. You can sign up for a reminder, or find a link to watch the service on-demand on the museum’s website here: https://www.ushmm.org/online-calendar/event/NADOR0421
The museum also offers free educational tools to use in commemoration services, classrooms, or for personal edification. You can download lesson plans, teaching guidelines, and request a free DVD. You can find these resources here: https://www.ushmm.org/online-calendar/event/NADOR0421
We encourage you to take some time to read, listen, or watch interviews with Holocaust survivors, and share their stories this week. As we honor those who were lost, those who survived, and those who sacrificed to liberate others, we commit ourselves to do everything in our power to never let it happen again.