Photo: Wikipedia user Valley2city/Wikimedia Commons

CAMERA UK’s campus advisor Georgia Leigha Leatherdale Gilholy

Once a year in Israel, a piercing siren is sounded for two minutes. On every road, street and corner of the country, life is temporarily suspended. People stop in the middle of walking, driving or working, to stand in silence, and commemorate the suffering of the Holocaust in honour of Israel’s national day of memorial.

First observed in 1951, the day, referred to colloquially as “Yom Hashoah,” annually falls on the 27th of Nisan in the Hebrew Calendar — unless the 27th falls on the Sabbath. This year it corresponds with April 8th. While International Holocaust Memorial Day dominates global Holocaust remembrance for obvious reasons, Yom HaShoah is a key day of reflection and mourning for Jews in Israel and across the world.

For many of us, the word Holocaust instantly conjures visions of barbed wire fences and concrete gas chambers imposed on European plains or the cramped urban ghettos where Jews awaited deportation and often death — both the backdrops to Hollywood blockbusters such as Schindler’s List and The Pianist. It makes sense. After all, approximately six million Jews were murdered in the Nazi genocide, and well over 98 percent were born in Europe. What we recall as cinematic snapshots were their grim reality. But the horrors of the Holocaust happened outside of Europe too, so how is it that we so commonly fail to acknowledge this?

Click here to read the full article in Jewish News.

Contributed by CAMERA UK’s campus advisor Georgia Leigha Leatherdale Gilholy.

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