Topic: Sacred Memory of the Holocaust
Studying the Holocaust leads to intriguing questions about Jews, religion, and media. What part does the memory of the Holocaust play in Jewish ritual? How is this ritual mediated within Judaism? To what extent has the contemporary role of memory of the Holocaust become sacred? In what sense is it 'sacred'? How does it tie in with more traditional Jewish religious dictates to remember (Zachor!)? Who defines what needs to be remembered? Where and when is it remembered? How do we investigate what is meant to be remembered?
How has the memory of these historical events within living memory become transformed into something sacred? Which aspect is sacred? Yom Ha'Shoah has been designated as Holocaust Remembrance Day. The date of Holocaust remembrance is not identical in Europe, Israel, and within some Orthodox Jewish communities. The European choice: January 27 coincides with the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau and has become a powerful symbol of the horrors of the Holocaust. January 27 is also the European Day against Genocide.
Much information about memorial ceremonies is now available online, and indeed the online environment provides opportunities for virtual candle lighting and other rituals of remembrance.
NAAF (stands for Never Again, Always and Forever) creates an online memorial to the Holocaust:
Special Yom Ha'Shoah Kaddish candles:
In what way is tension expressed between the religious and secular culture of memory?
(Cf. Jeffrey Feldman’s 4 models of Holocaust Museums).
Visit the site of the March of the Living.
Pay attention to the language of the organizers, as well as the testimonies of the participants. In what way does the language used by insiders to describe this trip resemble the language of pilgrimages, holy journeys to sacred sites? What is the message of making the trajectory of the trip be from Poland to Israel?
Some sites of remembrance advertise their programs, but insist on your actually coming to their physical plant. For example: “To visit the Virginia Holocaust Museum, you will find yourself transported back in time and experience actual events. Come prepared to walk through a concentration camp, on board the 'St. Louis' ship, a cattle car and into a ghetto."
Creating Christian Liturgies for Holocaust Remembrance Day http://www.ccj.org.uk/Downloads/Hmdlit.doc