For the survivor who chooses to testify, it is clear: his duty is to bear witness for the dead and for the living. He has no right to deprive future generations of a past that belongs to our collective memory” — Elie Wiesel
Together with Jewish communities world-wide, Melbourne’s Jewish community marks the Holocaust on 27 Nissan – Yom Hashoah – an annual Memorial Day set aside by Israel’s Knesset as Yom Hazikaron laShoah ve-laG’vurah. This year, to mark the 75 years since the Holocaust ended, we had planned to focus on our community’s wonderful Holocaust survivors and their inordinate contribution to the growth of one of the world’s most vibrant Jewish communities. Our theme was to be 75 years of remembrance and rebuilding.
However, it is not to be, as the Coronavirus pandemic has put paid to communal gathering. As a community, nevertheless, we have a sacred duty to mark the day, to memorialise the victims of the Holocaust, and to honour our survivors.
Each year, the testimony of a Holocaust survivor has been central to our community’s commemoration. We deem the role of survivor testimony to be significant in so many respects, among them the critical importance of collective memory.
This year, we have made available a collection of testimonies delivered by members of Melbourne’s Holocaust survivor community at previous Yom Hashoah commemorations to mark Yom Haziakaron LaShoah ve-laG’vurah.
The testimonies can be seen from 7.00pm on Monday 20 April through this link.
This year, as we remember the 6 million Jews who perished in the Shoah in our own homes, isolated from the broader community, we ask that you take on the task of lighting 6 candles – one candle representing each million of those victims.