Holocaust Remembrance Day

Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, was first observed in 1953 to remember and honor the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust and to celebrate those who survived. In 2016, the Ackerman Center began commemorating the day by having students, staff, faculty, and members of the community recite poems in various languages.

Last year we transitioned from our traditionally in-person event to a virtual one, which presented us with a new possibility: global participation. We welcomed new and old friends from across the nation and the world as we continued this annual tradition.

2021 Holocaust Remembrance Day Commemoration

This year’s event was held virtually in two parts:

  • “Remembering Resistance: The 1942 Tuczyn Ghetto Uprising”
    In 1942 in the village of Tuczyn, Ukraine, the Jewish community set fire to the ghetto in order to resist the Nazis and Ukrainians who liquidated the ghetto. The majority of the Jews perished, and survivors and scholars today are preserving the memory of what happened there. Dr. Michael Emmett, the son of Isaak Emmett, a survivor of the Tuczyn Ghetto Uprising and Fire, spoke about his family’s experience. The NGO Mnemonics showed the documentary Uprising of the Doomed. Before this film, the public in Ukraine did not know about this heroic and tragic history of the victims of Tuchyn. Dr. Anne Parsons discussed the many ways this history has been remembered.
    The recording of this special event can be viewed by clicking here.
  • Annual Yom HaShoah Commemoration Event
    Dr. Sarah Valente introduced and shared a video featuring our translations of Primo Levi’s poem, “Shema,” which can be found by clicking here. Lois Roman, a trustee from the Memorial Scrolls Trust then shared information about the work of the organization, which is a London-based non-profit that cares for 1,564 Czech scrolls that survived the Shoah. 1,400 of these scrolls have been given out on permanent loan to synagogues, museums, libraries, and schools around the world. The Trust’s main mission is to keep the memory of Czech Holocaust victims alive by retelling the scroll story. It is Holocaust Remembrance through artifacts. Dr. David Patterson ended the event by discussing the significance of the day.

Holocaust Poems

The Ackerman Center faculty has created this collection of important Holocaust poems.
Click here to see the 18 poems that they selected.

The Ackerman Center has held multiple workshops with students and faculty to translate several of these poems into more than a dozen languages, and we are in the process of compiling them. We have produced a collection of translations of Holocaust poems into several languages such as Farsi, Spanish, Portuguese, Urdu, and Arabic, which can be viewed by clicking on the languages.

letter-to-my-wifeLast year’s major translation project was the poem “Letter to My Wife” by Hungarian poet, Miklós Radnóti.

Please click here for a special presentation of the translations.

Dr. Ozsváth, When the Danube Ran Red

Last year marked the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. Click here to listen to Dr. Zsuzsanna Ozsváth, the Leah and Paul Lewis Chair in Holocaust Studies, read about the moment that Budapest was liberated from her memoir, When the Danube Ran Red.

Highlights from Past Holocaust Remembrance Days

death-fugueDeath Fugue” (2016)
The first of our translation workshops produced translations of this iconic Paul Celan poem in multiple languages. Several of those translations were read during our inaugural Holocaust Remembrance Day event in 2016. Click here or on the image to watch this video.
like-a-bullLike a Bull” (2017)
Dr. Zsuzsanna Ozsváth and Prof. Fred Turner kicked off this year’s event by reading Miklós Radnóti’s prophetic poem in Hungarian and English, respectively. The poem was also the focus of our translation workshops in 2017, and you can see the video of it being read by clicking here or on the image.
labsynthe LabSynthE Online Exhibit (“One Breath Poem” 2018)
In 2018, UT Dallas’s LabSynthE created the interactive exhibit, “One Breath Poem” that attendees could participate with during the event. Click here or on the image to see this and other collaborative projects.
holocaust-cantataHolocaust Cantata” (2019)
In 2019, Dr. Jonathan Palant conducted this special musical performance featuring the UTD Choir, which was accompanied by cello and piano and readings by Dr. Ozsváth and Prof. Turner. Click here or on the image to see excerpts of the performance.