A number of years ago James Young, one of the foremost scholars on the role of memory, memorials and their meaning, wrote a very interesting article “When a Day Remembers: A Performative History of Yom Hashoah”. In this article Young discusses the different ways in which Yom Hashoah has been observed in the past and is observed today, attempting to interpret these different observances and how they shape our memory of the Shoah. One of the important questions which Young raises is what type of day was Yom Hashoah supposed to be when it was established in Israel soon after the founding of the state, and what type of Yom Hashoah is it that Jews, both in Israel and the Diaspora, are trying to create. Is it a day of national remembrance, of collective memory, a unified and uniform day of remembrance, or is it a day on which “collected” and diverse memories and observances are present? Should it be incorporated into the traditional Jewish calendar, possibly as a fast day as argued by David Golinkin, with the reading of a Megillat Hashoah (also here), or is it a day which should remain a secular day of remembrance? It may very well be that these competing observances of Yom Hashoah will remain with us as witnesses to the different and diverse memories of the Shoah which we have.
Courtesy of Cliopatria, apparently the largest archive of Nazi documents, between 30-50 million documents, will finally be open to the public. You can read about it here. Besides the value which these documents hold for historical research, they will hopefully also allow countless people to find out more details about the fate of their loved ones.