This year’s Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day public recitation of names of Holocaust victims, will be held virtually on Zoom Tuesday, April 21 from noon to 3 p.m., Achim/Gate City Lodge of B’nai B’rith International announced in a press release. This will be the 31st anniversary of the “Unto Every Person There is a Name” initiative.
Achim-Gate City Lodge is partnering with Rabbi Peter Berg of The Temple to host the ceremony, which is typically held at the Georgia State Capitol rotunda but was adapted in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coordinated by Yad Vashem, along with other Jewish organizations, “Unto Every Person There is a Name” allows people to remember the victims of the Holocaust as the names are read aloud.
“For many on these lists, it is the only time their name will be said aloud as their entire family was murdered, or there is no one left to remember them,” Rabbi Berg said in the press release. “It is important that the Atlanta community join this global effort to memorialize the 6 million Jews we lost in the Holocaust.”
Hundreds of Jewish communities around participate in the effort. “The ‘Unto Every Person There is a Name’ program is always an incredibly moving experience for me, both hearing names being read and reading aloud the names of victims myself,” Harry Lutz, the local program coordinator with the Atlanta B’nai B’rith lodge, said in the press release. “I am constantly picturing in my mind that there are more than 6 million of these names.”
This year’s Yom Hashoah theme was announced as “Rescue by Jews during the Holocaust: Solidarity in a Disintegrating World.”
Of the ceremony, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said in the release, “Even as we read out the names separately, we can continue to remember — together. … I call upon you to join me and my fellow citizens of the State of Israel, and with members of world-wide Jewish communities, in carrying out the ceremony known as ‘Unto Every Person There is a Name’ on Yom HaShoah this year in your homes.”
Yad Vashem, the official Holocaust memorial museum in Israel, recorded over 4.8 million names of Holocaust victims in its online Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names, with over 2.75 million names registered on Pages of Testimony. “Sadly, the generation of Shoah survivors is dwindling rapidly,” Avner Shalev, chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, said in the release. “As the bearers of their legacy, we must do everything possible to perpetuate the memory of the Holocaust’s victims. By reciting their names, ages and places of death, we keep their memory alive and remind ourselves that each man, woman and child was, and is, an entire world.”
The Achim-Gate City Lodge is partnering with Yad Vashem in an international online initiative to recite, record and share the names of Holocaust victims, in addition to the local Zoom program. Participants can record themselves on video up to 15 seconds reciting names and then share the video with the hashtags: #RememberingFromHome and #ShoahNames, and tag @bnaibrithATL on Facebook posts. Yad Vashem will use some of the videos in a global name reading ceremony.
Yad Vashem’s opening ceremony will be filmed and broadcast Monday, April 20, at 8 p.m. Israel time and accessed on Yad Vashem’s website and YouTube channel.
The Atlanta name reading ceremony can be accessed through the Zoom URL https://zoom.us/j/97535589715. People who wish to participate as name readers may contact Harry Lutz, program chair, at email@example.com or 678-485-8179.