Honoring Holocaust victims with personalized memorial candles

As this Holocaust Memorial Day it is impossible to hold large events due to coronavirus, Our 6 Million is starting an initiative to honor the deceased together, while staying apart.

President Reuven Rivlin lighting a memorial candle from Our 6 Million (photo credit: MARC NEYMAN/GPO)
President Reuven Rivlin lighting a memorial candle from Our 6 Million
(photo credit: MARC NEYMAN/GPO)
On April 21, Israel and the diaspora will observe Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day), which usually involves large-scale events in which people talk about the horrors of World War II. This year, due to policies aimed at stopping the spread of coronavirus, traditional events will not be held.
Our 6 Million, an organization aimed at Holocaust education, is now offering personalized labels for yahrzeit candles (memorial candles), allowing families to ensure that their loved ones are remembered.
The sticker includes the name of the person as well as a brief biography and a QR code, which enables smartphone users to learn more about the person. 


The organization has collected 250,000 names and personal stories, as of April 14. Our 6 Million is asking people to place lit yahrzeit candles on their windows on Monday, April 20, at 7 p.m. as a way of remembering the victims together, while remaining apart.
 
There is no cost to print the sticker and Our 6 Million arranged for Shufersal to give out memorial candles on Sunday to promote the initiative. The supermarket chain will also include a candle, free of cost, in every delivery from a list of branches listed on the Our 6 Million's site.  
According to a survey conducted by the organization, 42% of Israelis think the Holocaust will be almost forgotten within the next 50 years, said Our 6 Million founder Alicia Yacoby.
“Our aim is to strengthen the tradition of commemorating (Holocaust victims) by offering personal memory candles, that anyone can lit in his or her own home,” Yacoby said. 
 
An example of how effective this project can be is the personal story of the teenager Avi Albahari, a grandfather who sadly faced his grandson’s refusal to lit a memorial candle.  
 
Yet when he was given one by his teacher, the teenager was shocked to find the name of Erna Albhari. He called his mother to ask who was this person and is she related to him and learned that she was his great-grandmother. For his grandfather, Avi, this was a “cosmic greeting” from his departed mother whom his grandson could not have known in person.   

British ambassador to Israel Neil Wigan and German ambassador to Israel Susanne Wasum Rainer are among those who participated in the lighting of the memorial candle. Wigan honored the memory of London-born Ibe Tauber who perished in Auschwitz in 1942. Many other people of note embraced the initiative, among them President Reuven Rivlin.    

 
Nora Siperman, CEO of Our 6 Million, said that the project is vital to ensure that the message of “never again” will “forever be sealed in our hearts.”  
 
“It is only through memory, that we can ensure such a thing will never happen again,” said Siperman.
 
The project had been in operation since 2013 and the candles are made in a factory in Sderot, a city in southern Israel.   
 
Yahrzeit candles are commonly used in Jewish households to honor the memory of the deceased and is usually lit on the Hebrew date of their passing.  
 
It is estimated that the Nazis and their collaborators murdered 6 million Jews during World War II.