On November 1, 2005 during the 42nd plenary session the United Nations designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. However, the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) had passed a resolution long before then. On April 12, 1951, they resolved to set aside the 27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar as “Yom Hashoah Ve-Hagevurah” (literally “Day of [remembrance of] the Holocaust and the Heroism”). It is often simply referred to as Yom Hashoah and on calendars outside of Israel, it falls in March or April.
The resolution became a formal law enacted on August 19, 1953. Six years later, the Knesset passed another law so that paying public tribute to victims of the Holocaust and ghetto uprisings became part of the day’s official observance.
Here are just a few of the ways Israel remembers the Holocaust. The sound of a siren at sundown (the beginning of Yom Hashoah) and once again at 11:00 a.m. stops traffic and pedestrians for two minutes so that people can reflect silently on what occurred. All radio and television programs during this day are connected in some way to the Shoah. Musical programs are also adapted to the day. Theaters, cinemas, pubs and other public venues are closed throughout Israel.
In Israel, when Yom Hashoah falls on a Friday, it is observed the preceding Thursday. When it falls on a Sunday, it is observed on the following Monday.