Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, is observed every year. It is a day of commemoration of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust as a result of actions carried out by Nazi Germany. This year Yom HaShoah coincides with the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, this moment halfway through the Holocaust when the remnants of the Warsaw Ghetto, having seen their families and friends dragged off to be murdered in Treblinka, said no, no more, we will not die as the Germans decide even though die we surely will.
After almost three years of hunger, disease, terror and seeing the murder of the vast majority of their fellow Jews, these brave few decided to stand firm and die on their own terms. Their actions – that month when they kept the Germans at bay and fought from house to house, room to room – not only shocked Germany and its collaborators but gave hope also to those in ghettos and camps elsewhere. What started that night in April 1943 did not stop there but inspired rebellions in Treblinka, Sobibor, Auschwitz-Birkenau, and in the Częstochowa, Będzin and Białystok Ghettos too.
On 17 April 2023, HKHTC was honored to host the annual Yom HaShoah commemoration at the Jewish Community Centre — as we paid honour to the memory of these brave men and women who, with the partisans in the forests of Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus and elsewhere in Eastern Europe did not go like sheep to the slaughter and, instead, inspired those words in Zog nit keyn mol: mir zaynen do! [מיר זײַנען דאָ] – we are here!
In March 2023, HKHTC was delighted to host Poland-born Holocaust survivor Mr Pinchas Gutter, who joined us live from his home in Toronto, for the 2023 HKHTC Educational Event Series (Pinchas’ Story: A Live Conversation with Holocaust Survivor Pinchas Gutter).
Mr Pinchas Gutter
In 1942, as ten-year-old Pinchas Gutter was deported from the Warsaw Ghetto to the killing site of Maidanek and then to a series of concentration camps, he shut himself off to the terrors surrounding him and tried his best not to be noticed, to become almost invisible. But after liberation, his photographic memory would not let his past fade away, and Pinchas struggled to deal with nightmares and flashbacks.
Pinchas is the first Holocaust survivor to be immortalised in an interactive projection in the USC Shoah Foundation’s Dimensions in Testimony – this is in partnership in Asia with the Hong Kong Holocaust & Tolerance Centre.