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Yom HaShoah 2017

Yom HaShoah or Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is observed on the 27th of Nissan in the Jewish calendar, falls on April 24 this year. This Israeli memorial day commemorates the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and is dedicated to the memory of the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust. The central theme of this year’s remembrance day is “Restoring Their Identities: The Fate of the Individual During the Holocaust.”

On this Yom HaShoah, 72 years after the defeat of the Nazi regime, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will receive the Elie Wiesel Award from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). The USHMM explained its decision by saying that Chancellor Merkel has been steadfastly committed to making Holocaust remembrance a priority in Germany. Under Chancellor Merkel, the museum’s numerous partnerships with German institutions and the federal government have grown even more fruitful.

The decision to open the archive of the International Tracing Service (ITS) was also made during the Chancellor’s tenure. In the summer of 2006, the representatives of the 11 member states of the ITS International Commission agreed to make the 30 million documents on the fates of people persecuted by the Nazis available to the public. Ever since the Berlin Agreement on the ITS was ratified in November 2007, the archive has been freely accessible to researchers and the general public.

ITS Director Floriane Hohenberg also emphasized the relevance of the archive in light of this year's theme for Yom HaShoah: “Questions continue to be asked by the second and third generations, and political questions remain concerning the rights of minorities, the approach to refugees, and the importance of democracy and human rights. These documents tell the stories of the victims of the Nazis, they make denial impossible, and they help restore identities.”