Maccabi GB’s yellow candles light up the world

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Maccabi GB’s yellow candles light up the world

Those who perished in the Shoah remembered in a blaze of light against the darkness

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Debra's friend Karen posted a photo of the yellow candles online - without knowing one of them was in memory of Debra's aunt (left)
Debra's friend Karen posted a photo of the yellow candles online - without knowing one of them was in memory of Debra's aunt (left)

Jewish communities all over the world united brought on Sunday (May 5) for Maccabi GB’s Yellow Candles project to commemorate those who died in the Holocaust.

More than 20,000 flames were lit in Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Poland, New Zealand, Spain and the US, as candles were lit by individuals, families, communal organisations, in care homes and in schools.

Each Yellow Candle came with a biographical card sourced from the Yad Vashem archives, detailing – where known – the name, age, date, and place of death of a specific individual lost in the Shoah. This connection to a victim made the act of commemoration deeply personal for each participant. Thousands of people took pictures of “their” candle and posted the image on social media. The common goal, said Maccabi, was “to ensure that the atrocities of the Shoah are never forgotten”.

A poignant ceremony hosted by Yom HaShoah UK was attended by over 2,000 people in central London and watched by thousands more online. The ceremony was attended by Holocaust survivors, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and the Israeli ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely.

During the ceremony, six Yellow Candles were lit to honour the lives of the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust. Second and third-generation Holocaust descendants accompanied Holocaust survivors in lighting the flame of the Yellow Candle together. This symbolic act represented the importance of ensuring that each generation remembers the tragedy of the Holocaust, as well as reaffirming a collective commitment to combating antisemitism and promoting peace.

Ashley Lerner, chief executive of Maccabi GB, said: “The annual remembrance of those brutally murdered in the Shoah is something we must never and will never forget. Enabling individuals to be remembered via lighting a Yellow Candle year on year, ensures they rest in power and are never forgotten.

“Personally, lighting a Yellow Candle in Auschwitz-Birkenau, as part of the March of Living UK delegation, in memory of Shlomo Krausz, who at only three years old was murdered there, is something I will never forget for the rest of my life”.

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