Day of Remembrance
Yom Hashoah — Let us remember…
Six million Jews, including one and a half million children**, were murdered in the Holocaust – a systematic genocide of one third of the entire Jewish population.
Holocaust Day is a day to remember the victims – those that survived, and the many more who did not. It is also a day to recall what human beings are capable of doing to one another.
Holocaust Day falls on 27 Nissan, which this year, will be 26 April 2014. Tomorrow morning, at Jewish cemeteries around South Africa, memorial services are being held for the sake of and to honour those that were murdered in the Holocaust, those that survived the Holocaust and for our own sake. As George Santayana wrote: “Those who cannot remember history are doomed to repeat it.”
The Holocaust, any holocaust, must never again happen.
Prayers for the Victims of the Holocaust
Translated from the Hebrew in the Rinat Yisrael Machzor
May God remember the souls of all the communities of Israel in the European Diaspora who were sacrificed on the altar during the years of the Holocaust (1939-1945): six million men and women, boys and girls, young men and women, infants and the elderly, who were cruelly slain and butchered, and mass murdered in their dwellings places and cities, and in the forests and villages.
Those surviving were brought like sheep to the slaughter to the concentration camps where they died unnatural deaths, and were burned to ashes in the furnaces of the terrible camps of destruction in Germany and Poland, and in the rest of the occupied countries, at the hands of the murderous German people and their Allies, all of whom were of one counsel to annihilate, kill, and utterly destroy the Jewish people, to wipe out the memory of Judaism, and to erase any association with the name Israel.
God of vengeance, Judge of the Earth, remember the streams of blood that were spilled like water, the blood of fathers and sons, mothers and sucklings, rabbis and their students, and repay the oppressors of your people seventy times over.
Do not silence the scream of “Shema Yisrael!” uttered by those who were taken to their death, and let the groan of the afflicted ascend before the throne of your glory. Avenge, speedily in our days, before our eyes, the blood of your pure and sanctified sons and daughters who never had the privilege to be buried as Jews… As it is written: “For He will avenge the blood of His servants, and vengeance he will serve on their oppressors, and He will atone the Land of His people.”
Prayer for the Departed: El Malei Rachamim
O God, full of mercy, who dwells on high, Grant proper rest on the wings of the Divine Presence In the lofty levels of the holy and pure, Who shine like the glow of the firmament – For the souls of the Six Million Jews, victims of the European Holocaust Who were killed, slaughtered, burned and wiped out for the Sanctification of the Name by the murderous Germans and their allies, because, without making a vow, all the community will pray for the uplifting of their souls.
Therefore, may the Master of mercy
shelter them in the shelter of His wings for eternity;
And may He bind their souls in the Bond of Life.
The Lord is their heritage. And may their resting-place be in the Garden of Eden, and may they reach their destiny at the end of days. And let us say Amen.