27 January 2024

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

The carnage of October 7th is equated to a modern-day Holocaust and compared to 9/11.  The heartless murders, rapes and tortures that occurred in Israel by Hamas, who had the sole intent of murdering and exterminating people just because they were Jewish, resonated with Hitler’s objective of wiping out all Jews on the planet.  Similarly, Hamas’ own founding charter explicitly calls for a global genocide of all Jewish people and threatens “repeat performances” of October 7th.  

With the backdrop of this brutal war that we are all so involved in, WIZO has been, and still is, very well placed to rebuild, rehabilitate, restore and repair our beloved Israel and its people.  We find ourselves reeling from the Holocaust and now we are reliving our worst nightmare with the present-day Holocaust of October the 7th.  

So now, I must point out that International Holocaust Remembrance Day occurs on the 27th of January. This date marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and is not to be confused with Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day which commemorates the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

WIZO continues to raise funds for our ongoing Emergency Fund. Why? Because this is an absolute emergency!  WIZO also continues to raise funds for the I Am Not OK campaign.    Why?  Because none of us are ok! All monies raised go directly to those who need it most, whether it be our day care centers for little children, youth villages, homes for the aged or money and clothing etc for the soldiers.  We essentially provide for those who have been displaced during this war and in fact as we did during the Ukraine war.  WIZO has stepped up, as it always does, and is providing refuge to the people of Israel giving them a sense of comfort and belonging.

So as International Holocaust Remembrance Day is occurring on the 27th of January, we must remember that this day is dedicated to remembering the victims of the Holocaust and many other genocides. WIZO understands, as do we all, that it is a time for reflection, education and raising awareness of the consequences of discrimination and prejudice.  It also encourages individuals and communities to stand together against hatred and persecution.  

On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we pay tribute to the bravery of all those who stood up to the Nazis, despite the grave risks. Their legacies are honoured and efforts are stepped up to counter Holocaust denial, antisemitism and racism, something that WIZO truly believes in and forms the basis of everything that WIZO does to eradicate all the evil around Jews and our homeland … Israel.

At the same time, South Africa has taken Israel to the International Court of Justice for perpetuating genocide against the Palestinian people when in fact it is Hamas whose intent it was to murder and obliterate Israeli people. Far from committing genocide, Israel has gone to great lengths to minimise civilian casualties in their response to this war started by Hamas.    But, as global statistics show a sharp rise in antisemitism, our government continues to display antisemitic and anti-Zionist rhetoric and we, as Jews, are constantly having to defend who we are and what we stand for. 

It becomes important that we educate ourselves and others on the dangers of hatred and discrimination and instill the memory of these tragedies in future generations in an attempt to prevent genocide or crimes against humanity from occurring again. 

Now more than ever we are morally obligated to keep the memory of the Holocaust, and the present day “Holocaust” that we are enduring, alive and uppermost in our minds as we demand the immediate release of the hostages. We remember the Holocaust and the atrocities of October 7th in order to help us survive these unimaginable horrors.

This above aligns with WIZO’s ethos of standing together against any violence afflicted on those who cannot defend themselves, such as battered women, children and others who are then placed in our WIZO houses of safety.  

It becomes clear then as WIZO women, that we embody co-existence, strive to abolish all forms of discrimination and do what it takes to uphold the rights of those people we help.  We will continue to stand up against hatred and oppression and support those who need it most in our beloved Israel. With your help and generous donations, together with the strength and determination of our soldiers, as well as with the unity of all Israelis that stand behind them, we can only pray, and hope, that we, as the Jewish people, will prevail.

We must prevail!

Am Yisrael Chai.

Warm regards


Shelley Trope-Friedman

President WIZO South Africa