JMM Insights: Remembering The Holocaust

This week’s installment of JMM Insights is by Sol Davis, JMM Executive Director.

Today, January 27, is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This day has been marked by the United Nations General Assembly to commemorate the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp by the Soviet army. Approximately 6,000 people, most of them ill or dying, remained incarcerated in Auschwitz at the time of its liberation 77 years ago. In the weeks prior to the Soviet forces arrival at Auschwitz, the Nazi SS forcefully marched nearly 60,000 prisoners west to prevent their liberation in what became known as death marches. 

In October of 1944, months before the arrival of Soviet forces, a rebel group within Birkenau organized a revolt. Among those who organized the revolt was Róża Robota, a woman in her early 20s from Ciechanow, Poland. Crematoria IV was blown up during the uprising, and Róża was arrested in the immediate aftermath. Róża was tortured, and prior to her execution, in her final words to her comrades, she said, “Hazak ve-amatz” (Be strong and of good courage).

Today, I encourage you to read more about Róża Robota, and draw strength and courage from her legacy, at the Jewish Women’s Archive.

Holocaust education and remembrance is central to the work of the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Each year, the Museum, in partnership with the Baltimore Jewish Council, provides two professional development opportunities that support teachers to effectively teach this history. We work closely with the Maryland State Department of Education, local school districts, and classroom teachers to advance Holocaust education. Currently, the Museum is developing a set of lesson plans that will be rolled out across the state to provide educators with pedagogically sound curricular materials to help them meet the state’s recently strengthened requirements for teaching about the Holocaust.

We join with people around the world in marking this day of remembrance, and we commit ourselves to preserve and teach the history of the Holocaust every day.  


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