Links in the Chain

1944 At the Edge of The Abyss - Holocaust Memorial Program

Tags: Resources, Holocaust, History, Inspiration and Hope, Jewish Identity, Education, Elana Heideman

By Dr. Elana Yael Heideman

There were many groups of people who suffered at the hands of the Nazis, and today we are facing a growing tension in how the facts of this monumental historical event are remembered and protected for the future.

The events of 1944 demonstrate the extent to which the Jews were the primary target for destruction, forced to contend with unheard of, unimagined tortures both physical and mental, spiritual and emotional. The expedited murder of Hungarian Jewry is but one example of how the Jews of Europe stood at the edge of the abyss in 1944 - the final year in which transports continued, gas chambers churned, and whole communities and families were destroyed.


Had the Allies bombed the railway to Auschwitz, hundreds of thousands of Jews from Hungary, Romania and elsewhere could have been saved. As the final year of deportations and extermination by gas come to an end, the suffering of the Jews during the Holocaust continued. Those Jews still alive at the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau on January 27, 1945 were sent by foot on the death marches and many died before reaching the camps in Germany.

Their history is our history, and their memory should become our memory. As Elie Wiesel said, one who listens to a witness becomes a witness. Let us be their voice to the future and ensure that the lessons and facts of the Shoah are not forgotten or diminished.

Our memorial programs are uniquely designed to ensure a powerful and meaningful experience for everyone. They are fitting for all ages and can be altered to suit the needs of any audience or time frame. They also make for wonderful private reading for Yom HaShoah or any Holocaust memorial learning opportunity. Some selections can also be shared through artistic representation.


  • Narrow down selections based on your desired program length
  • Assign readings. During the ceremony, the MC should call up each reader by name. 
  • Prepare table and candles 
  • Ensure set up of audio/visual logistics for sharing of the accompanying presentation that runs simultaneous as a background to the ceremony

For more ideas or information on how you can personalize the memorial for your community, please contact us at

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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: Resources, Holocaust, History, Inspiration and Hope, Jewish Identity, Education, Elana Heideman