BayLegal marks this April 27 – 28 as Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. We share these words from Senior Staff Attorney Jenna Statfeld Harris in the day’s spirit of remembrance, reflection, and commitment to stand with our Jewish colleagues, clients, community members and loved ones, and against genocide and the forces of national, religious, ethnic and racial exclusion and oppression that keep its threat dangerously present.
I wanted to take a minute to acknowledge that today is Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. This statement from the White House feels like a good summary of the day:
On Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, and throughout this week of remembrance, we reflect on the horrors of the Holocaust when the Nazi regime systematically murdered 6 million Jews and millions of other innocents, including Roma, Sinti, Slavs, persons with disabilities, LGBTQI+ individuals, political dissidents, and many others. . . . The world must never forget the truth of what happened across Europe during the Holocaust or forget the horrific crimes and suffering the Nazi regime inflicted on millions of innocent people. Entire families were wiped out. Communities were shattered. Survivors were left with agonizing memories and fading tattoos etched into their skin by the Nazis, reducing them to numbers.
As a grandchild of Holocaust survivors who narrowly escaped the horrors and lost large chunks of their families in Europe, today has always been deeply meaningful for me. It has grown in meaning as I’ve gotten older – as I visited the death camps and gas chambers in Poland in person, as I lost my grandparents and their survivor friends, as I started raising my own children. But this year, it feels even more intense. As many of you know, antisemitic attacks have been on the rise, reaching the highest levels in decades in NY and causing 1 in 4 Jews to feel targeted this year. For me, I feel anxious every time my husband and sons walk outside with their yarmulkas/kippas on, and I feel deeply grateful to the security guards who are so diligent outside our synagogues and my children’s Jewish schools. I wish we didn’t have to live in fear of another Holocaust, but many of us do.
I feel lucky to work at an organization like this, alongside each of you working every day to ensure that we uphold the dignity of every human being. May we continue to work together to fight evil and injustice in all forms.
Jenna Statfeld Harris