International Holocaust Day

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International Holocaust Day
Photo by Matan Brill

International Holocaust Day will take place on January 27, 2012, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp. Haifa has two squares and a monument commemorating the rescue of Diaspora Jews by three countries and three peoples who offered shelter and aid to Jewish survivors.

Denmark.  Christian X, King of Denmark (1912-1947), wrote in his personal diary, "When you look at the inhumane treatment of Jews, not only in Germany but occupied countries as well, you start worrying that such a demand might also be put on us, but we must clearly refuse this due to their protection under the Danish constitution. I stated that I could not meet such a demand towards Danish citizens. If such a demand is made, we would best meet it by all wearing the Star of David."

After the occupying Germans ordered the arrest and deportation of the Jews of Denmark, the Danish resistance and many Danish citizens smuggled some 8,000 Jewish citizens to safety from Zealand to Sweden via the ├śresund strait.

In June 2013, the Danish Embassy in Israel in cooperation with Haifa Municipality erected Dan Reisner's Murmur of the Seas, a statue symbolizing the naval rescue operation, located near Dado Beach, on what is now Denmark Square.

The Philippines. In 1939, Philippine President Manuel Louise Quezon decreed to grant 10,000 visas to Jewish immigrants fleeing Europe, thus saving their lives. This noble deed and the courage of the Filipino people was recognized through a monument erected on a plaza on Manila Street, named after Haifa's sister city.

Haifa Municipal Council ruled to name a plaza after the Philippines in recognition of the deep affinity between the Philippines and the State of Israel, and as a tribute to the Philippine government, for its help in saving Jews during the Holocaust.

The Filipino vice president who arrived for the unveiling of the monument on the plaza thanked Haifa's moving tribute to the Filipino people, saying that the terrible past and endless cruelty suffered by the Jewish people during the Holocaust could not and will not be forgotten.

Bulgaria. Inaugurated in November 2011 and centrally located at Western Carmel, Bulgaria Square commemorates the Bulgarian people's endeavor to save Bulgarian Jewry during the Holocaust. Located near Sha'ar HaAliyah neighborhood, where some Bulgarian Jews lived upon immigrating to Israel, the square forms a main entrance gate to Haifa.

Photo by matan Brill
Photo by Matan Brill

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Photo by Aviva Shpigelshtein