Unto Every Person There is a Name – Theme Information
The following is a letter from the International Committee of “Unto Every Person There Is A Name” explaining this year’s theme for Yom Hashoah – Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, May 5, 2016 – 27 Nissan 5776:
The worldwide Holocaust memorial project “Unto Every Person There is a Name”, now in its twenty-seventh 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 offers the opportunity 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. You can help to restore the identity and dignity of the victims of the Holocaust by organizing a name-recitation ceremony on Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day. Links to lists of names taken from Yad Vashem’s Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names, and ceremony planning recommendations are included below.
The Unto Every Person There Is A Name project focuses attention on the urgent need to retrieve additional names of Holocaust victims, before they recede into oblivion. It also gives us leave to reflect on contemporary expressions of anti-Semitism and their impact on Diaspora communities and on the State of Israel.
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 World Holocaust Remembrance Center, in consultation with the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and enjoys the official auspices of President of the State of Israel, the Hon. Reuven Rivlin.
In Israel, “Unto Every Person There Is A Name” is an integral part of the official Yom Hashoah commemoration ceremonies, with 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 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 Jewish. Each of their deaths was a separate, distinct tragedy that together has caused indelible lasting trauma to the Jewish people. As time passes and fewer witnesses remain, it is imperative 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 identified over four million names of Shoah victims and that continues its quest to recover all the six million names.
“Everything is Forbidden to Us, and Yet We Do Everything” The Struggle to Maintain the Human Spirit during the Holocaust The Central Theme for Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day 2016
Everywhere the Nazi regime reached, it acted to rupture the very structures of Jewish life, both communal and familial. Among other steps, they attempted to annihilate the Jewish spirit and culture. Therefore, one of the Nazis’ first acts was the destruction of synagogues, and the outlawing of Jewish prayer and public assembly. Confronting this reality, the Jewish community found itself moving anxiously between self-preservation and disintegration, between dire crisis and persistent efforts to create communal frameworks that might facilitate continued physical and spiritual existence.
Click here for full theme rationale and text.
Recover Names of Shoah Victims
“Unto Every Person There is a Name” events provide a unique opportunity to gather heretofore unknown names of all the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
Since its inception, one of Yad Vashem’s central missions has been the recovery of the names and personal stories of all victims of the Shoah. While the Nazis sought not only to physically destroy the Jews but also to obliterate any memory
>> Click here to access The Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names
The Names Database, uploaded to the Internet in 2004, marked a pioneering use of technology in the service of memory, documenting and commemorating nearly three million names of Holocaust victims. To continue to meet the needs of an expanding worldwide community of users, Yad Vashem has upgraded and re-designed the database, making use of an innovative platform that allows the accessibility of online information in a fast and user-friendly format.
Recitation Ceremony Planning Recommendations
5. Central Ceremony at Yad Vashem: The official State ceremony marking the commencement of Yom Hashoah will take place at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem on Wednesday 4 May at 20:00 (8 p.m.) Israel time. The ceremony is broadcast live on Israel’s Channels One, Two and Ten accessible via the internet, which might allow you to incorporate it into your own ceremony. Furthermore, the ceremony will be available online on the Yad Vashem website within 2 hours after it concludes and could be utilized as an element in your own ceremony.