How 1.3M Jews Are 'Missing' in the Holocaust

Recording names is a big focus as Israel marks its Holocaust Remembrance Day
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2017 11:22 AM CDT
How 1.3M Jews Are 'Missing' in the Holocaust
Israelis stand still next to their cars as a siren sounds in memory of victims of the Holocaust, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Monday, April 24, 2017.   (AP Photo/ Sebastian Scheiner)

It's an unforgettable number—6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust—but it's accompanied by a less known one: 4.7 million. The latter is the number of victims whose names we know thanks to the efforts the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial has made since 1954. And on Monday, which marks Israel's annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, the focus is on bolstering that count before it's too late. More on that effort and the day:

  • The BBC follows one 89-year-old woman as she fills out a "Page of Testimony" that will add the name of her father to the roster of known names. In October 1944 he conveyed a message to the women's camp at Auschwitz, asking that any survivors from his hometown of Khust, Czechoslovakia, be told that "200 men were brought back from the coal mine. Tell them that tomorrow we won't be here anymore."
  • The BBC's article notes that roughly 95% of Western and Central European Jewish victims have been named; but the figure that represents Eastern Europe Jewish victims is far lower. Only about half the 1.5 million child victims are named. Says one man who works with survivors, "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."

  • For two minutes on Monday, Israel commemorated the day as it does: by sounding a siren that wails for 2 minutes. Things freeze during that time, the AP reports, with cars not just puling over on major highways, but with drivers exiting their cars and bowing their heads in observation.
  • The Jerusalem Post reports on another annual gathering that coincides with Holocaust Remembrance Day: the International March of the Living. Since its start in 1988, some 250,000 people have on this day walked the roughly 2-mile path linking Auschwitz and Birkenau in Poland. This year saw 10,000 participants, and the march chairman had this to say: "Elie Wiesel, who was with us in our very first March in 1988, said, 'If you listen to a witness you become a witness.'"
  • "We mourn, we remember, we pray, and we pledge: 'Never again.'" So said President Trump in a video address to the World Jewish Congress Plenary Assembly in New York. Reuters notes the president garnered some negative press after not referencing Jews in a January statement on international Holocaust Remembrance Day.
  • Haaretz tweets that "reading a book is always an act of Holocaust remembrance." It links to an article that rounds up scholars' picks for the seven best books on the subject published in the last three years.
(More Holocaust stories.)

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