Connection Between Castastrophes and Against Forgetting

Tags: Inspiration and Hope, Holocaust, Memory, Conversation Starters, Israel Under Fire, Elana Heideman

By Dr. Elana Yael Heideman

Noting Holocaust memorial day so soon after October 7 is daunting - how far can one take the connection between the catastrophes that has befallen our people? How much can we draw conclusions from shared ideologies and the poison of Jewhatred that underlies each and every massacre of Jewish life?

When we remember the Holocaust, it is our obligation to do more than just say never forget or never again. The international day of remembrance is one that allows us to understand the universal relevance of the Holocaust that all of mankind can and must learn from. Yom HaShoah emphasizes the uniqueness of the Jewish experience, while global efforts continuously erase the Jew. People know less, and have twisted the Holocaust through distortion and, in effect, continued the dehumanization of the Jews that has fueled the spread of public antisemitic expression. As we watch the world begin to deny the events of October 7, we know how important it is that BOTH sides of memory be ingrained in the human heart.

We invite you to reflect on this upsetting trend of universalizing Holocaust memory and language.

The Universalization and Contemporary Abuse of Holocaust History

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People are saying, “If you wanted to know what you would have done during the Nazi reign of terror, you are doing it RIGHT NOW.” True for the bystanders, the perpetrators and also for the intended victims - we, the Jewish nation. We will not live through victimhood - but we can build upon it and inspire others to understand, respect, and honor the true meaning of “never again.” Learn, teach, speak out, write letters, and keep the conversation going - at home, at work, in your schools, with friends and family.

There can be no comparison with the instrumental systems of annihilation during the Holocaust and the pogrom massacre of Black Shabbat on October 7, 2023. But there are lessons we can learn, patterns we can recognize, and voices that need to be heard so that we do not again make the mistake of ignoring the writing on the wall and the calls for all of us to take action. Who is teaching, what is being taught - there are ways we can improve upon how the experience is transformed into lessons for today.

How to Teach the Holocaust - Watch Reel

But indeed, October 7 denial, Holocaust distortion, are both prevalent elements of what is being screamed in the streets and on social media. Not only are most young people not aware of the facts surrounding Nazi ideology and their campaign for the systematic, legal extermination of Jews. So, too, do they have no true understanding of the dangers of their pro-Palestinian chants calling for another genocide of the Jews. They are willingly standing and joining the effort to eliminate Jews, Jewish history, and Jewish human rights justified by warped distortions of what is little more than an ancient hatred in a new form.

The Final Solution - Call for Genocide of the Jews

Even beyond Holocaust Memorial Day, it continues to be our responsibility to find ways that you can share, open discussions, and feel confident in your own knowledge of what is needed to counter the vitriol. The violation of Jewish rights in both instances are deserving of recognition, and no amount of memorialization may ever be enough.


For more inspiring readings, activities, and resources about the Holocaust and the hope that was never lost, even in the darkest of times, come explore our resources of memory.

Support our efforts to preserve Holocaust memory and memory of the other tragedies and triumphs of our nation.

About the Author

Dr.  Elana Yael Heideman
Dr. Elana Yael Heideman, Executive Director of The Israel Forever Foundation, is a dynamic and passionate educator who works creatively and collaboratively in developing content and programming to deepen and activate the personal connection to Israel for Diaspora Jews. Elana’s extensive experience in public speaking, educational consulting and analytic research and writing has served to advance her vision of Israel-inspired Jewish identity that incorporates the relevance of the Holocaust, Antisemitism and Zionism to contemporary issues faced throughout the Jewish world in a continuous effort to facilitate dialogue and build bridges between the past, present and future.

Tags: Inspiration and Hope, Holocaust, Memory, Conversation Starters, Israel Under Fire, Elana Heideman