The Future of Holocaust Remembrance

For the past nine years the Jewish Foundation along with local organizations and businesses have sponsored an annual Days of Remembrance event to honor those who perished during the Nazi reign of terror from 1933 to 1945. Audiences have heard dramatic stories of courage, survival, and sorrow, as Holocaust survivors from around the country have been featured speakers for the event.

But, just as the WWII veterans are passing from our earth, so too are the survivors of the Holocaust. Survivors with an independent memory of the events of the Holocaust are now in their 80’s and many suffer from medical conditions that prevent them from traveling or even speaking at events. The Foundation has known there would come a time when it would no longer be feasible to plan a community-wide event because of such uncertainties. Thus, it is with much sadness that the Foundation announces that it will no longer be sponsoring a community-wide Holocaust Observance each spring.

Instead, the Foundation has turned its attention to a new initiative: Lessons From The Holocaust. Historians and Holocaust scholars have been actively studying how the various segments of German society failed in their basic responsibilities and how those failures contributed to the atrocities of the Holocaust. These groups included the politicians, the military, the judiciary, the medical profession, the journalists, the industrialists, the police, and others. As outlined in the article on the facing page, the Foundation is at the forefront of bringing the Lessons From The Holocaust to the 15,000 police officers that serve throughout Arizona. In the future, the Foundation hopes to work with its partners to develop and disseminate Lessons for other segments of our society.

In 2013, at the 20th Anniversary Commemoration of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, CBS News interviewed Elie Wiesel. During the interview Wiesel said: “The contents of the museum are, in a strange way, the last gift of the dead to the living. We leave you our story, and now it’s up to you to do something with it in order to save mankind.”  The Foundation believes the Lessons From The Holocaust initiative may just be that ‘something.’