Great Neck Village will host Yom Hashoah, or the “Day of Remembrance,” in Village Green Park on April 23, to remember the Holocaust to prevent it from happening again.
The event differs from past years in that it will be a public program taking place in a Great Neck park rather than inside synagogues. The program aims to reach various communities in the village.
“I just hope that people will come and learn and understand the history and really try to find common ground, despite all the dissimilarities we may think we have,” said Great Neck Village Mayor Pedram Bral.
Yom Hashoah is a national memorial day in Israel that will be observed beginning at sundown on Sunday, April 23. It commemorates the six million Jews and millions of other civilians taken by the Nazi regime, as well as Jewish resistance.
Typically a siren goes off throughout Israel, pausing all work and traffic for a moment of silence. Vigilant Fire Company will also have a siren go off for one minute.
This year’s remembrance day comes at a time when the world’s Holocaust survivors are dying. There were about 500,000 living survivors in 2014, according to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which tracks Holocaust survivors. As of mid-2016, there were 100,000.
“It’s going to be incumbent upon everyone else in the world to remember it,” said Trustee Barton Sobel, whose father is a Holocaust survivor. “If everybody forgets what happened, then it’s an invitation for it to happen again.”
Bral echoed that sentiment.
“It’s extremely important to bring the awareness, especially to the younger people, because many people don’t know much about this [the Holocaust],” Bral said. “And unfortunately, there are people that are Holocaust deniers.”
Sobel also said that he sees some similarities with events unfolding around the world, including the Syrian civil war, which has claimed between 320,000 and 470,000 lives, according to estimates.
“You see it happening in different countries today. You see the potential in leaders like Kim Jong-un and Bashar al-Assad, who kills his own people,” Sobel said. “These are things we should all be very sensitive to.”
The program in Village Green Park on Middle Neck Road will last from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.