Standing in solidarity
April 18, 2023
On this day, communities around the world observe Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. Together we stand in solidarity with the Jewish people and pay tribute to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust. An estimated 6 million European Jews and at least 5 million prisoners of war, Romany, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals and other victims were murdered by the Nazis in one of the most horrendous campaigns in human history. On this day, as we pay tribute to the victims of the Holocaust, we also come together knowing that this act of remembrance is a commitment to a shared responsibility for humankind to ensure such crimes never happen again.
As a young girl, I remember hearing the powerful words “never again” as our leaders and teachers taught us about this dark time in history, a history that is deeply painful to remember. Yet it was made clear that we need to remember, that we are called to remember, in order to reaffirm humankind’s obligation to stand against antisemitism, racism and other forms of intolerance that may lead to violence. In the words of U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, “we can never lower our guard,” as we have continued to see today an increase in antisemitic attacks, in xenophobia and homophobia, displaying the hatred that lives on.
As we continue to learn and listen to the survivors and honor the victims through sharing their memories, their “portraits speak to us of the dignity, humanity and interconnectedness of each unique member of our human family. Their heartbreaking stories of survival and courage inspire us to do more, in whatever way we can, to combat persecution, hatred and discrimination, wherever they are found,” Guterres said.
We are all inextricably connected to one another, and our history reminds us as we move forward about our need to live out the Matthew 25 call to be compassionate, to seek justice and advocate for others. This is our mission.
Ivy Lopedito (she/her/hers), Mission Specialist, Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Today’s Focus: Holocaust Remembrance Day
Let us join in prayer for:
Let us pray
Merciful God, we come to you with heavy hearts as we honor and remember the lives lost, and those who are with us today who continue to suffer from the incomprehensible pain that it has brought. I pray that through this day of remembrance we continue to tell their stories so that it will always remind us of our promise to never let such horror happen again. Let us be agents of change and give us the courage to stand firm against the hatred in our world today. Remind us of our need to be grounded in love as we seek justice and advocate for all. Amen.