Action Card - January 2019
Material provided by Christians Aware
Holocaust Memorial. Torn from Home
On January 27th we will remember the most heinous act of the murder of more than 6 million Jewish people by Nazi Germany. The
persecution was cruelly planned by an evil regime, and aimed to annihilate all Jews. The word ‘Shoah’ is a Hebrew word which means
devastation. It is sometimes used instead of ‘Holocaust’ in reference to the horrors which took place.
Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and well-known novelist offers us all a challenge in relation to the Holocaust:
1. The event took place. One must speak.
2. The event defies description. One cannot speak.
3. The event suggests an alternative. One could choose silence.
4. The event precludes silence. One must become a messenger.
5. The event suggests a certain kind of message. One can be a ‘teller of tales’.
The tale we are asked to tell in 2019 is that during World War Two Jewish people were violently torn from their homes, to be
incarcerated and then killed. One tale we might share is of the Jews of Krachow who were forced into a ghetto and then into a death
In the ghetto, where the Jews were taken before being moved on to Belzac, the local death
camp, there is now a wide-open space where only the entrance gate, in the form of a
tombstone, still stands. A work of art has been placed there, of rows of empty chairs,
symbolical of the chairs people used to carry their goods into the ghetto. The photos of some
of the people carrying the chairs, with some of their stories, may be found in the local
The photograph is of the work of art placed where the Jewish ghetto had been in Krachow.
When we think about chairs it is good to think of the people who sat in them, perhaps at home with their families. The word ‘home’
has many associations. For many of us who live in Western Europe it represents family, comfort, food, relaxation and above all safety.
The Holocaust Memorial, held on January 27th, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, will encourage us all to reflect on what it
means to be ‘torn from home,’ as so many people were at the time of the Holocaust, and as many people still are today in our suffering
world. We may also remember the people of Rwanda at this time. It is 25 years since the genocide there. WE may remember all
refugees and people who are trafficked.
Visit a local refugee centre and meet the people.
Hold a prayer vigil for all those who are torn from their homes.
Ask Christians Aware for stories of Holocaust survivors and refugees.