Holocaust Remembrance Day

The featured stamp is dedicated to The International Holocaust Remembrance Day which is observed on Jan. 27.

The stamp's moto is "Past and future in our hands". It shows a photo of the left arm of an Holocaust survivor, showing his/her Nazi concentration camp identification tattoo, together with the arm of a newborn - symbolizing the past and the future respectively.

The following (with minor modifications) is based on comments made by Prof. Hanna Yablonka, a well-known Israeli historian and scholar of the Holocaust:

On Nov. 1, 2005, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 60/7 designating the 27th of January as an annual International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.

The resolution rejects any denial of the Holocaust as an historical event, urges Member States to develop educational programs that will teach future generations about the horrors of genocide and condemns all manifestations of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief.

The 27th of January was chosen to be The International Holocaust Remembrance Day as it marks the day in 1945 on which the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, the largest of the Nazi death camps, was liberated by the Soviet army. Several countries already observe this day to remember the Holocaust victims.

Ban Ki-moon Secretary-General of the United Nations, is quoted in the upper section of the stamp sheet (the stamp sheet contains 9 copies of the stamp), as follows: "Denying historical facts, especially on such an important subject as the Holocaust, is just not acceptable. Nor is it acceptable to call for the elimination of any State or people. I would like to see this fundaments principle respected both in rhetoric and in practice by all the members of the international community".

Israel has also observed, since 1951 (and by a special law since 1959), a Holocaust remembrance day named Yom Ha'Zikaron La'Shoa Ve'La'Gvura. Taking place 8 days before Independence Day, it is dedicated to both the victims and the heroes who revolted or acted courageously against the Nazis and their collaborators.

The goal of those who instigated the Holocaust was to erase another people from the face of the earth. This mass murder was not preceded by any national, religious or political confrontation; rather, it was motivated by ideology. The modus operandi for the murders was innovative. They were carried out thoroughly by the State and its institutions, based upon an industrialized organizational plan. That plan was given top priority even when it was contradictory to Germany's war interests.

The Jewish people, who were concentrated mainly in Europe, were biologically and culturally eradicated from the continent's landscape. Two third of them, 6 million individuals including 1.5 million children, were murdered. To this day, more than 65 years after the conclusion of the war, the Jewish people have not recovered: there are currently some 13 million Jews worldwide, compared with about 16 millions on the eve of WW-II.

The Holocaust caused great changes within the Jewish people: the large Jewish center in Europe was destroyed and its place was taken by the newer centers in Israel and the United States.

Since 1945 the Holocaust has been a central feature of discussions regarding morality, ethics, law, society and culture. Thus, Holocaust remembrance is not simply a consequence of personal memory but rather that of overall systems of research, education, literature and documentation. Author Primo Levi, a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, named his book "If This is a Man". The title reflects a short but all-encompassing statement/question: a great sense of wonder in the face of the fragility of all basic human values and the immense evil that unfolded in the mass murder of the Jews alongside the posing of a challenge, which is the obligation to understand the human soul in all its complexity so that such a spiritual weakening of humanity will never again be allowed to occur.

The stamp was issued in 2010. Designer: Osnat Eshel. Photograph: Karen Gillerman-Harel.