Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day 2014
Jews "On the Edge"
1944: Between Annihilation and Liberation
"Unto Every Person There is a Name"
Letter from the International Committee, Unto Every Person There Is A Name
Yom Hashoah – Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day
28 April 2014 – 28 Nissan 5774
The worldwide Holocaust memorial project “Unto Every Person There is a Name”, now in its twenty-fifth consecutive year, is a unique project designed to perpetuate the memory of the Six Million - among them one-and-a-half million Jewish children – murdered while the world remained silent. The project allows participants the space and time to memorialize them not only as a collective, but as individuals – one at a time - through the public recitation of their names on Yom Hashoah – Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day - and thus help to restore their identity and dignity.
The most fundamental feature of the Shoah is the systematic murder of six million innocent Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators for the sole reason that they were born Jewish. Each of their deaths was a separate, distinct tragedy that together has caused indelible trauma to the Jewish people. By personalizing the individual tragedies of the Jewish victims of Nazi Germany and their collaborators, “Unto Every Person There is a Name” counters persistent efforts by enemies of the State of Israel and the Jewish people to deny the reality of the Holocaust and cast it as history’s seminal hoax. “Unto Every Person” also defies attempts to universalize the Holocaust and cast off its principal characteristic as a unique calamity of the Jewish people, while also building appreciation of the Shoah's tragic impact on the Jewish reality until this very day.
The “Unto Every Person” project also focuses attention on the urgent need to recover additional names of Holocaust victims, to reflect on this year’s central theme for Yom Hashoah and to focus attention on contemporary forms of antisemitism which continue to plague many countries around the world.
A World-Wide Effort
“Unto Every Person There Is A Name” ceremonies are conducted around the world in hundreds of Jewish communities through the efforts of four major Jewish organizations: B’nai B’rith International, Nativ, the World Jewish Congress and the World Zionist Organization.
The project is coordinated by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, in consultation with the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and enjoys the official auspices of President of the State of Israel, the Hon. Shimon Peres (see President’s letter, Annex I).
In Israel, “Unto Every Person There Is A Name” is an integral part of the official Yom Hashoah commemoration ceremonies, with the central events held at the Knesset and Yad Vashem with the participation of elected officials, in addition to local events throughout the country.
Personalizing the Holocaust
The International Committee of “Unto Every Person There is A Name” takes pride in the fact that its raison d’être – advocating the personalization of the Jewish tragedy of the Holocaust – has gained wide recognition in Israel and around the Jewish world as hundreds of Jewish communities now participate in this project. As time passes and fewer witnesses remain, it is of great importance to create a personal link between the Jewish people today and those who perished under the Nazi genocidal regime. Ceremonies in which names of Holocaust victims are recited - together with such information as their age, place of birth and place of murder - personalize the tragedy of the Holocaust. Emphasis is thus put on the millions of individuals – men, women and children - who were lost to the Jewish people, and not solely on the cold intangibility embodied in the term “The Six Million”. "Unto Every Person There is a Name" rests on the success of Yad Vashem's Shoah Victims' Names Recovery Project that to date has incontrovertibly identified over four million names of Shoah victims and continues its relentless quest to recover all the six million names.
“Jews "On the Edge": 1944: Between Annihilation and Liberation" - Central theme for Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day 5774
Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day 5754 (2014) is marked by the situation of the Jews in 1944 – exactly 70 years ago. The expression "on the edge", taken from Nathan Alterman's poem Joy of the Poor, very aptly expresses the feeling which prevailed that year among the Jews of Europe, who were in the throes of a double race on which their very lives depended. On the one hand, cities from east to west, such as Vilna and Minsk, Warsaw and Riga, Belgrade and Sofia, Paris and Rome, were being liberated from the yoke of Nazi Germany; the Red Army was advancing, and the western Allies continued to bombard Germany, their landing in Normandy tipping the scales still further. On the other hand, in the same year, the Jews of Hungary were sent to Auschwitz, the Lodz and Kovno ghettos were liquidated, the last of their former inmates were deported and murdered, and death marches were initiated from the liberated territories to the heart of what remained of the "Third Reich." It was a year in which everything depended on the scales of time, and the Jews remaining in Europe were asking themselves: will the Red Army from the east and the Allies from the west arrive before the Germans come to murder whoever is still alive? Or, as Alterman wrote, which ending will come first? Events were occurring very swiftly, one after the other, raising serious questions in their wake.
For the full text of the rationale, see Annex III.
Contemporary Forms of Anti-Semitism
Taking place on Yom Hashoah – the day marking the most heinous antisemitic outrage in history - “Unto Every Person there is a Name” ceremonies also provide a poignant opportunity to focus attention on contemporary forms of this scourge.. Antisemitism - in its numerous forms and emanating from divergent sources - remains a unique and dangerous phenomenon that continues to plague Jews in most countries around the world, including those in which some of the worst atrocities of the Holocaust were perpetrated, the Palestinian Authority, and much of the Arab world.
While the number of violent antisemitic events worldwide did not rise in 2013 compared to 2012 (that saw a jump of 30% compared to 2011), and while there were no prominent events that received great global resonance such as the March 19, 2012 antisemitically-motivated terrorist attack by Mohammed Mera on the Ozar HaTorah Jewish school in Toulouse, 2013 stands out as the year in which antisemitism pervaded Jewish life in many countries around the world, particularly in Europe. The trend of rising and worsening antisemitism is reflected in the severity of the verbal and graphic expressions, the insults, the harassment, and the threats encountered by Jews in their everyday lives, which create a gradually more oppressive atmosphere.
As documented in an extensive survey undertaken by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) “Discrimination and Hate Crime Against Jews in EU Member States: Experience and Perceptions of Antisemitism” (link) fully 77% of European Jews do not even bother to report the antisemitic bullying, assault and harassment they experience to any agency - governmental or non-governmental - due to their belief that the complaint will be ignored and the culprits will go unidentified. This finding - based on polling of nearly 6,000 Jews in eight EU countries (representing some 90% of all EU Jews) - sadly indicates that most Jews are resigned to the fact that the antisemitism they face is a chronic phenomenon they cannot affect. While it can be assumed that a large percentage of severe antisemitic incidents (in which victims can expect to secure outside assistance) are reported, the results of this survey indicate that bodies tracking antisemitic incidents are aware of only a small portion of all antisemitic events. Another phenomenon reinforced in 2013 is the boost gained by antisemitic trends from social networks. The case of the “quenelle” inverted Hitlerian salute popularized by the antisemitic French comedian Dieudonne, and the “knock out the Jew” attacks of Brooklyn Jews, are two examples of this.
(For further information see Annex IV)
Expanded Global Activity to Recover Names of Shoah Victims
“Unto Every Person There is a Name” events provide a unique opportunity to continue the quest to collect the names of all the Jews who perished in the Holocaust.
Since its inception, one of Yad Vashem's central missions has been the attempt to recover the name and personal story of each and every victim of the Shoah. While the Germans sought not only to destroy the Jews but also to obliterate any memory of them, The Shoah Victims’ Names Recovery Project realizes our moral imperative to remember each victim as a human being, and not merely a number. To learn more about the project click here.
The relentless endeavor has to date identified over four million names of Shoah victims, documented in the Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names online at: www.yadvashem.org. Roughly half of the victims' names in the database were derived from various archival sources and postwar commemoration projects. The other half are recorded on "Pages of Testimony" submitted by relatives and others who knew of the victims. The outstanding universal value of the Pages of Testimony Memorial Collection has been recognized by UNESCO, which inscribed it this year in its prestigious Memory of the World Register.
The entire online Names Database, where one may access the victims’ brief histories and, when available, photographs, and submit additional names, is available in English, Hebrew and Russian. Millions of victims’ names are still missing, and it is incumbent upon us today, to recover them before the generation that remembers is no longer with us. “Unto Every Person” ceremonies should be utilized to call upon members of your community to complete a “Page of Testimony” for each unregistered victim, or to volunteer to assist others with this urgent task.
(For further information see Annex V).
Recitation ceremony planning recommendations
1. Outreach: The International Committee urges organizers of “Unto Every Person” ceremonies to invite all Jewish organizations and institutions in their community, including schools, synagogues of the various streams and community centers, and Israeli diplomatic representatives, to take an active part in the name recitation ceremonies and in the Names Recovery Campaign. The Committee specifically requests that the four sponsoring organizations be actively engaged in each ceremony and that all local agencies cooperate to make the ceremony as inclusive and meaningful as possible. The Committee also recommends that non-Jewish groups and leaders in the larger community be invited to participate in the recitation ceremonies, which can be held in an appropriate public setting.
2. Press: Local and national media, especially television, should be encouraged to cover the ceremonies. Any visual products from the ceremony should be sent to Yad Vashem in order to be archived and exhibited in the future.
3. Family names retrieval: We urge you to encourage members of your community to search for names of relatives and friends who were victims of the Holocaust, to compile your own personal and local lists of names and family members for commemoration, and to submit names to Yad Vashem's Database (see above).
4. Names recovery campaign: Should you choose to utilize the ceremony to kick-off a names recovery campaign, please refer to Yad Vashem’s Community Outreach Guide for new resources. Packed with tips and materials, including short movie clips and print-quality files of promotional materials, this resource will enable Jewish communities and educators to plan and implement meaningful programs, names collection events and related activities around Yom Hashoah and throughout the year.
5. Ceremony requirements: The recitation ceremonies require coordination and planning but involve very little expenditure. Basic requirements for the ceremony are:
* Poem “Unto Every Person There Is A Name” by Israeli poet Zelda (Annex VI)
* Lists of names
* Pages of Testimony
* Yizkor and El Maleh Rahamim prayer texts (available in Hebrew)
* Six Yizkor candles
* A sound system
* Professional-standard video equipment
* A table or podium covered in black
* Sufficient volunteers to recite names
* Master of Ceremonies
6. Central Ceremony at Yad Vashem: The central State ceremony marking the commencement of Yom Hashoah will take place at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem on Sunday, April 27 at 20:00 (8 p.m.) Israel time. The ceremony is broadcast live on Israel’s Channel One, accessible via the internet, which might allow you to incorporate it into your own ceremony. Furthermore, the ceremony will be available on-line on the Yad Vashem website within 2 hours after it concludes. The recording could be utilized as an element in your own ceremony.
We are available to answer any questions that might arise and provide additional material as necessary to ensure the success of your event.
Members of the “Unto Every Person There Is A Name” International Committee: Rachel Barkai, Dr. Alexander Avram (Yad Vashem); Alan Schneider (B’nai B’rith International); World Jewish Congress; Naftaly Levy (World Zionist Organization); Amb. Gideon Behar (Israel Foreign Ministry); Boris Belodubrovsky (Nativ).
Project Initiator: Haim Roet
For Yad Vashem
Rachel Barkai, Commemoration and Public Relations;
Ossi Kupfer, Project Coordinator; Alexander Avraham, Hall of Names
POB 3477, Jerusalem 9103401, Israel
Tel. (972)-2-6443574; Fax (972)-2-6443569; firstname.lastname@example.org, www.yadvashem.org
For more information about the Shoah Victims' Names Recovery Project contact:
Cynthia Wroclawski, Manager
The Shoah Victims' Names Recovery Project
Yad Vashem, POB 3477
Jerusalem, 9103401 ISRAEL
For North America
B’nai B’rith International Center for Programming
801 Second Avenue, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10017
Tel: (212)-490-3290; Fax: (212)-687-3429
For Eastern Europe
World Jewish Congress
POB 4293, Jerusalem 91042, Israel
Tel: (972)–2-6333006 Fax. (972)-2-633 3011
For Western Europe, Latin America, Australia
WZO Department for Zionist Activities
POB 92, Jerusalem, Israel
Tel: (972)-2-6202262; Fax (972)-2-6204099
For the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ambassador Gideon Behar, Director, Department for Combating Antisemitism, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem, Israel
Tel: (972)-2-5303696; Fax: (972)-2-5303159
For the Former Soviet Union
8 Hamelacha St., POB 21609
Tel Aviv 67251, Israel
Tel: (972) 3 5639730; Fax: (972) 3 7610918
Message from the President Shimon Peres
To read the letter click here.
Message from the Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev
Unto Every Person There Is A Name
Public Recitation of Names of Holocaust Victims in Israel and Abroad on Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day
“Unto every person there is a name given to him by God and given to him by his parents”, wrote the Israeli poetess Zelda. Every single victim of the Holocaust had a name. The vast number of Jews who perished in the Holocaust - six million men, women and children - is beyond human comprehension. We are therefore liable to lose sight of the fact that each life that was brutally ended belonged to an individual, a human being endowed with feelings, thoughts, ideas and dreams whose world was destroyed, and whose future was erased. The annual recitation of names of victims on Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day is one way of posthumously restoring the victims’ names, of commemorating them as individuals. We seek in this manner to honor the memory of the victims, to grapple with the enormity of the tragedy, and to combat Holocaust denial and distortion.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the global Holocaust memorial initiative “Unto Every Person There Is A Name”, conducted under the auspices of the President of the State of Israel. In addition to name recitation ceremonies conducted all over Israel in schools, universities, youth movements, memorial institutions and workplaces, the project aims to reach out to as many overseas communities and institutions as possible. With this in mind, we are sending you the attached materials, in the hope that you will join us in this essential mission, and hold a name-reading ceremony on Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day.
The theme of this year’s observances is:
Jews "On the Edge" - 1944: Between Annihilation and Liberation
In 1944, reality for the Jews of Europe consisted of a race against time, which was literally a matter of life and death. On the one hand, territories, cities and countries from east to west were being liberated from Nazi Germany, the Red Army was advancing and the Allies continued their bombardments. On the other hand, in the same year, the Jews of Hungary were sent to Auschwitz, the ghettos in Lodz and Kovno were liquidated, and death marches were initiated from which few survived. It was a year in which survival depended on time and location, with the Jews teetering precariously between annihilation and liberation.
To date, 4.3 million names of Holocaust victims have been recorded in Yad Vashem’s online Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names, with close to half the names coming from over 2.6 million Pages of Testimony. You can assist in our ongoing collection campaign by copying and distributing new Pages of Testimony, or by submitting them online through our website: www.yadvashem.org.
As the years pass, and the generation of survivors inevitably dwindles, the second and third generations must do everything possible to perpetuate the memory of the Holocaust’s victims. By reciting their names, ages and places of death, we keep their memory alive, and remind ourselves that each man, woman and child was, and is, an entire world.
Yad Vashem Directorate
Jews "On the Edge"
1944: Between Annihilation and Liberation
Central theme for Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day 5774
Prof. Dina Porat
Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day 5774 (2014) is marked by the situation of the Jews in 1944 – exactly 70 years ago. The expression "on the edge", taken from Nathan Alterman's poem Joy of the Poor, very aptly expresses the feeling which prevailed that year among the Jews of Europe, who were in the throes of a double race on which their very lives depended. On the one hand, cities from east to west, such as Vilna and Minsk, Warsaw and Riga, Belgrade and Sofia, Paris and Rome, were being liberated from the yoke of Nazi Germany; the Red Army was advancing, and the western Allies continued to bombard Germany, their landing in Normandy tipping the scales still further. On the other hand, in the same year, the Jews of Hungary were sent to Auschwitz, the Lodz and Kovno ghettos were liquidated, the last of their former inmates were deported and murdered, and death marches were initiated from the liberated territories to the heart of what remained of the "Third Reich." It was a year in which everything depended on the scales of time, and the Jews remaining in Europe were asking themselves: will the Red Army from the east and the Allies from the west arrive before the Germans come to murder whoever is still alive? Or, as Alterman wrote, which ending will come first? Events were occurring very swiftly, one after the other, raising serious questions in their wake.
In March 1944, the Germans invaded Hungary and immediately commenced preparations for the swiftest and most organized deportation any Jewish community had ever witnessed: From the middle of May, over 430,000 Jews from Hungary were sent almost exclusively to Auschwitz, where the vast majority was murdered in the space of two months. A ray of light that year was the beginning of the return of the remnant of those exiled to Transnistria, a region in southern Ukraine where conditions were among the most horrific. At around the same time, Zionist youth, other Jewish activists and neutral diplomats stepped up their rescue activities in Budapest, eventually contributing to the survival of over 100,000 Hungarian Jews. However, in June, Jews from the Greek island of Corfu were rounded up and deported, and in July, the Kovno ghetto in Lithuania was liquidated. Nazi ideology, which was centered around the burning desire to kill every single Jewish individual, dictated such efforts even in the final year of the war, when the Germans needed every means at their disposal to fight at the front, including the urgent requirement for trains to bring them equipment and arms, and for every pair of hands that could still work to produce for them weapons that would turn the tide of the war in their favor.
In June, the "Auschwitz Protocols" were disseminated around the world. This detailed account, written by Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler, two young Jews who managed to escape from the infamous concentration and death camp, exposed for the first time the central role of the camp in the extermination system. Shortly afterwards, with the liberation of Majdanek, the hard labor and death camp next to Lublin, actual gas chambers were revealed for the first time. The industrialization of murder, the technology that acted in the service of Nazi ideology, the ability to commit crimes of such enormity in secret and over such a long period of time – all of them still deeply disturbing – were finally exposed. Following these events, the Jewish jurist Raphael Lemkin coined the phrase "genocide" in 1944, and participated in the drafting of the UN convention for its prevention approved in 1948.
In October, an uprising in Auschwitz was staged by the Sonderkommando, the group of Jewish prisoners tasked with the unspeakable job of handling the bodies of the murdered victims. They blew up one of the gas chambers with the help of explosives smuggled in to them by a group of young Jewish women. The question we must ask ourselves is, from where did these men and women, imprisoned in this indescribable place, draw the strength to organize, band together, choose the right moment, and actually hope to succeed?
These events are at the heart of the tension between annihilation and liberation, a tension that was literally a question of life and death for the Jews at that time, who were living on the very edge.
The author is Yad Vashem's Chief Historian.
Contemporary Forms of Antisemitism - Main Trends and Factors 2013
Compiled by Alan Schneider
The FRA survey further found that some 23% of European Jews do not attend Jewish institutions or events due to their fear of being attacked on the way to them. 38% avoid walking in public with distinctly Jewish signs such as a yarmulke or a Star of David, and 66% see antisemitism as a problem that impacts their lives in a fundamental and constant fashion. In its totality, the FRA survey revealed widespread fear of antisemitism on the internet and of victimization, a worrying level of antisemitic discrimination, particularly in employment and education, concern about Holocaust denial and trivialization, and hate crime.
1. Antisemitism in the Palestinian Authority
With the exit of former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from the international stage and Iran’s current charm offensive, the Palestinian Authority represents today the biggest state or quasi-state purveyor of antisemitic rhetoric in the world.
A study prepared by the Israel Ministry of Intelligence, Strategic and International Affairs “Palestinian Authority Incitement Index- Status Report” (link) documents dozens of instances over a six-month period in which official Palestinian media and educational systems communicate that 1. Israel has no right to exist, certainly not as the state of the Jewish people, which, in any case, have no link to the Holy Land; 2. The disappearance of Israel is unavoidable and is expected soon; 3. The Jews are sub-human creatures and must be dealt with accordingly; 4. In principle, all forms of struggle, including terrorism, are legitimate in order to realize the final goal, leading Minister Yuval Steinitz to tell a cabinet meeting in January that PA President Mahmoud Abbas “remained the number one leader in terms of antisemitic and anti-Israel venom”.
The inverted Nazi “Sieg Heil” salute – the Quenelle – fashioned by French antisemitic entertainer Dieudonne and widely seen as an antisemitic gesture – became the rage in Europe during the last weeks of 2013 as it spread around the world with the help of social media. The immediate popularity of the Quenelle and its performance in a purposeful and defiant manner at Jewish sites such as cemeteries, synagogues and Holocaust memorials, is a chilling indication of the scope of the platform upon which antisemitism can spread. In fact Dieudonne has some half million friends and followers on social networks who regularly receive his hateful massages.
3. Attacks Against Jewish Customs
The trend to attack and challenge Jewish rituals such as ritual slaughter and circumcision, primarily in Europe, continued in 2013. While some researches are of the opinion that these demands – coming from human rights and animal rights campaigners - do not necessarily stem from anti-Jewish animus and are not directed solely at Jews - they have reinforced the message that Jews and Judaism are intrinsically primitive and cruel, contributing to the antisemitic atmosphere and to the grave feelings of European Jews reflected in the FRA report.
4. International and Social Media
As detailed in a report issued by the Israel Ministry for Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs “Antisemitism in 2013 – Trends and Events”, on-line antisemitism seems to be taking the place of antisemitic and anti-Israel demonstrations that were prevalent in recent years. “It is very difficult to fight against the ease with which material is uploaded to the Internet, and the anonymity that the material’s uploader hides behind in most cases. A short video clip of just a few minutes, distributed this year on YouTube, in which a devout Muslim identified as Malik Naram, a fan of Dieudonne, unequivocally calls for the murder of all Jews wherever they may be, ran through the Internet unobstructed until enough complaints to remove it were assembled. The clip was removed, but its distributor has yet to be called to justice for incitement to murder, a fact that indicates that red lines that existed for several decades following the Second World War are today crossed without hindrance”. The report also details a number of absurd antisemitic conspiracy theories that spread in the Internet and social networks during 2013.
5. Anti-Zionism BDS and Delegitimization of Israel as a Substitute for Antisemitism
Anti-Zionism and delegitimization of the State of Israel continued in 2013 to serve as a sanitized substitute for blatant antisemitism. Anti-Zionism and the disproportionate criticism of Israel by the global left and international community - that ignored actual widespread atrocities in many countries, with particular irony regarding those in conflict with Israel – remained a convenient mask to hide real antisemitism. According to the 2013 Annual Evaluation of the Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism (CFCA - link ) calls for boycott, divestment and sanction of Israel (BDS) intensified in 2013 and it became evident that this campaign to harm the image of Israel was organized and strategic, and enjoys a tailwind from European governments. 2013 saw efforts to impose economic, cultural and academic boycotts that emanated also from some churches. It was therefore disconcerting that the FRA removed from its website this year its own breakthrough “Working Definitions of Antisemitism” which included "anti-Zionist expressions, hostile attitudes to the existence of the State of Israel and discrimination against it" as constituting antisemitism in certain cases.
6. Countries of Concern
France – According to the CFCA evaluation, France continued to lead in 2013 with the highest number and the most violent antisemitic incidents, with over 200 events - including dozens of violent attacks reported - including three stabbings, one crowbar beating and arson of facilities. The impact of the Toulouse murders diminished but still remained an inspiration to perpetrators of antisemitism and the Otzar HaTorah school continued to be a focal point of antisemitic incidents, including the attack of a student with a knife (February 2013), anonymous calls threatening other attacks and Nazi salute in front of the school gate. The popularity of the "quenelle" is part of a blossoming antisemitic discourse in France, which is no longer taboo and is gaining prominence in the public arena. French courts began to impose substantial fines on members of a group in Alsace who called for a boycott of Israeli products at the supermarket and Dieudonne was fined $28,000 and later banned from appearing in several cities in France.
Netherlands – The CFCA evaluation reported that the phenomenon of anti-Israelism strengthened in 2013 and is more pronounced than classical antisemitism. Islamic antisemitism is challenging the ability to openly conduct Jewish life in the country and has pushed aside left-wing and right-wing antisemitism.
Germany – The number of antisemitic incidents - sporadic and local for the most part – remain relatively high in Germany in 2013, including 29 cemetery desecrations (the lowest number since 2000). The phenomenon of antisemitism on the soccer fields is on the rise, with the main victims being Maccabi sports clubs that exist in 15 cities. German authorities are taking a hard-line attitude against those who perpetrate these incidents.
Hungary – According the CFCA evaluation, the number of antisemitic incidents in Hungary increased by about fifty percent (from 34 to 60) in 2013. These included a number of violent attacks alongside desecration of cemeteries and monuments, as well as antisemitic chants and burning of the Israeli flag. The severity of the incidents also worsened compared to 2012 and include an attack against the head of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute during a football match in Budapest, attacks against Jews on a trolley car, an attack on an Israeli for being a Jew and spitting on Jews on Independence Day. The radical nationalist Jobbik party increased its antisemitic expressions including calls for the extinction of the Jews, swastikas and pictures of incitement that were posted on the party's website and Facebook page.
Greece – Antisemitic incidents doubled in 2013 from 8 to 16 and included desecrations of cemeteries and memorials, and declarations of Holocaust denial by leaders of the radical nationalist Golden Dawn party. The Greek government took harsh action against the party following the murder of a left wing Hip-Hop artist by party members, jailing six Golden Dawn parliamentarians and terminating the party's funding. The Greek Orthodox Church which wields considerable influence has also been accused of harboring antisemitic attitudes, with the Bishop of Kalavryta publishing on his personal website, a call to all Greeks to be troubled because Greece "was sold to Jewish and controlled by them."
Australia – 2013 was marked by a vicious attack on a Jewish family in Sydney by eight youths after they noticed kippas on their heads. Some of the family members suffered fractured sculls, broken noses and cuts. The attackers were arrested and released on bail, with emphasis in the media that they were not Muslim. In general, Australia saw a twenty-percent increase in reported antisemitic incidents to 657 – representing a 70% increase compared to the last 20-year average, although most of the incidents were in the category of threats while the number of physical attacks was down.
Britain – The UK continues to be a major activity center for antisemitism, with emphasis on anti-Zionism and delegitimization of the State of Israel. In addition, the Community Security Trust, in its annual report "Protecting the Jewish Community" (link) reported that 529 antisemitic incidents were recorded in 2013, down from 649 in 2012. These included 69 violent assaults (the same as in 2012 – the lowest since 2003), 53 incidents of damage and desecration, 368 of abusive behavior and 38 incidents of threats.
Poland - Twenty-three percent of Poles believe the myth that Jews used to kidnap Christian children for ritual purposes, and 22 percent believe that Jews living today are responsible for Jesus’ death, according to a survey conducted in 2013 by the Center for Public Opinion Research, for the Center for the Research of Prejudice in Warsaw. The findings indicate an increase in the prevalence of anti-Semitic opinions compared to a 2009 survey, including an increase in views reflecting traditional antisemitism. The survey shows that 63 percent of those polled believe in various other conspiracy theories related to Jews: 67 percent believe that Jews want to increase their influence in the world and 44 percent believe that Jews control the world. The survey also shows that 44 percent of Poles believe that Jews tell everyone that the Poles are antisemites.
Alan Schneider is Director of the B'nai B'rith World Center - Jerusalem
Call on the Public to fill out Pages of Testimony at your Memorial Event
Please display Promotional posters (available in English, Hebrew or Russian) together with "Pages of Testimony" (available in a number of languages) and call on the public to help grow the names database. To order posters please contact: email@example.com Additional promotional materials (newsletter texts, website banners, articles etc.) are available in the "materials toolkit" link in our community outreach guide.
If your local synagogue, school or Jewish community organization has created a memorial project commemorating Holocaust victims that you would like to share with Yad Vashem, please conatct: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We invite you to make use of this short Video for Memorial Names Recitation Ceremony. (click here for video and accompanying text )
Since uploading the database to the Internet in 2004 there have been hundreds of families who have been reunited with or discovered relatives with whom they had lost contact in the wake of the Shoah. A sampling of additional remarkable stories of discovery can be viewed online.
Everyone has a name
Everyone has a name
given to him by God
and given to him by his parents
Everyone has a name
given to him by his stature
and the way he smiles
and given to him by his clothing
Everyone has a name
given to him by the mountains
and given to him by the walls
Everyone has a name
given to him by the stars
and given to him by his neighbors
Everyone has a name
given to him by his sins
and given to him by his longing
Everyone has a name
given to him by his enemies
and given to him by his love
Everyone has a name
given to him by his holidays
and given to him by his work
Everyone has a name
given to him by the seasons
and given to him by his blindness
Everyone has a name
given to him by the sea and
given to him
by his death.