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article imageRemembering the Holocaust and why 1.3 million names are missing

By Karen Graham     Apr 24, 2017 in World
Six million people being put to death is hard to fathom, but it's a number that will never be forgotten. Of the six million Jews murdered in the Jewish Holocaust, we know the names of only 4.7 million. There are still 1.3 million names to find.
On Monday in Israel, sirens wailed nonstop for two minutes just as they do every year. Time literally stops for everything. Vehicles on the highways and roads come to a halt and people get out of their cars to stand with their heads bowed in silence. This is one way the nation remembers the Jewish lives lost in the Holocaust.
Six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis and their accomplices during World War Two, and in many cases, whole towns had their Jewish population wiped out, with no one left to bear witness to the murders - Part of the Nazi regime's plan to wipe European Jews off the map forever.
Also on Monday, delegates from 11 European nation's along with over 10,000 people from countries around the world, pledged their continued commitment to the Holocaust Commemoration, participating in an almost three-mile-long walk linking Auschwitz and Birkenau in Poland. The International March of the Living has taken place every year on Holocaust Remembrance Day since 1988.
The March For The Living has been held every year since 1988. This year  over 10 000 people particip...
The March For The Living has been held every year since 1988. This year, over 10,000 people participated.
March of the Living International
When the memorial torches were lit, Austrian Federal Minister for Education Dr. Sonja Hammerschmid, who led the delegation of education ministers and officials, read out a declaration stating: “We take upon ourselves the solemn commitment to remember and to commemorate the millions of Jewish victims of the Holocaust, the Roma Genocide, as well as other Holocaust-related mass atrocities. We shall respect the survivors still with us and honor those who resisted the evil of Nazi tyranny. We will commit to combating all expressions of Holocaust denial, antisemitism, antiziganism and any form of racism or intolerance."
Elisha Wiesel, the son of the late Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Eli Wiesel, participated in the march for the first time. After he lit his torch, he said, “My father never forgot. The things he saw stayed with him all the days of his life. He lived to speak of them to me and to my children. My father was a witness."
One witness remembers her father
The BBC noted Holocaust Remembrance Day by following one 89-year-old lady as she filled out a "Page of Testimony" that will add the name of her father. Giselle Cycowicz (born Friedman) remembers her father, Wolf, as a warm, kind and religious man. "He was a scholar," she says.
 Selection  of Hungarian Jews on the ramp at the death camp Auschwitz-II (Birkenau) in Poland during...
"Selection" of Hungarian Jews on the ramp at the death camp Auschwitz-II (Birkenau) in Poland during German occupation, May/June 1944. Jews were sent either to work or to the gas chamber.
Several sources believe the photographer to have been Ernst Hoffmann or Bernhard Walter of the SS
"he always had a book open, studying Talmud [ a compendium of Jewish law], but he was also a businessman and he looked after his family." Before the war, the family lived in Khust, Czechoslovakia near the border with Hungary. The family's life, along with all the Jews in the town changed in 1939 when pro-Nazi Hungarian troops invaded Khust and deported all the Jews to Auschwitz.
Giselle last saw her father when the family reached the Birkenau part of the death camp. He was chosen for a "workforce" and she was not allowed to hug and kiss him before the family was separated. "That would have been my chance to maybe kiss him the last time," she told the BBC.
Giselle, her mother, and sister managed to survive for five months in Birkenau when they got word that "a skeletal man" had passed by the women's camp and passed on a message to anyone who had lived in Khust. "Tell them just now 200 men were brought back from the coal mine. Tell them that tomorrow we won't be here anymore." The man was Wolf Friedman. He was gassed the next day.
The eternal flame at the Holocaust Museum Hall of Remembrance.
The eternal flame at the Holocaust Museum Hall of Remembrance.
flickr pag2525
Bearing witness to the Holocaust
Israel's Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem ("A Memorial and a Name"), has been collecting names of the victim's killed in the Holocaust since 1954, and to date, have collected 4.7 million. "Every name is very important to us," says Dr. Alexander Avram, director of Yad Vashem's Hall of Names and the Central Database of Shoah [Holocaust] Victims' Names.
"Every new name we can add to our database is a victory against the Nazis, against the intent of the Nazis to wipe out the Jewish people. Every new name is a small victory against oblivion." And we could add that every name bears witness to the atrocities committed by the Nazis.
At this memorial, the millions of names are not just victims, but people, people who led fruitful lives, had families, loved and were loved - someone's son or daughter. Knowing these seemingly benign facts brings the names to life. So far, about 95 percent of Jewish victims from Central and Western Europe have been named. However, the number of Eastern European Jewish victims is much smaller.
Almost half of the 1.3 million children murdered by the Nazi s have been named. The rest of those ch...
Almost half of the 1.3 million children murdered by the Nazi's have been named. The rest of those children are still but a memory.
Ernst Hofmann or Bernhard Walte
Only about half of the 1.5 million Eastern European Jewish children killed in the death camps have been named. One man who has worked to identify some of the victims says, "It's one of the saddest things. We have reports, where parents are named with, say three or four children, unnamed. They were little children and people just don't remember."
And remembering those unnamed victims took center stage this year in Israel as another Holocaust Remembrance Day passed - And it's a reminder that time is getting shorter for witnesses to step forward and add another name to the list before it's too late, because, we must never forget.
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