Tomorrow night my little sister is leading her college's Holocaust Memorial service as part of the follow up to a course she did on Jewish-Christian relations. The blurb she found online suggested that during the service 6 candles be lit to commemorate the 6 milliom Jews killed under the Nazi regime. However, as part of her course she visited the Beth Shalom centre in Nottinghamshire where she discovered that in the 20th Century alone there are records to suggest that around 160 million people were killed in genocides - so her service will include the lighting of 160 candles.
I have a problem with the word 'Holocaust' used to describe what happened to Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, mentally ill and frail people: the word used properly means 'a whole burned offering', I cannot see genocide in that way. I prefer the Jewish term 'Shoa' which means 'destruction' or 'catastrophe.'
However, a whole burned offering of 160 candles as an acknowledgement of the destruction of so many people is something that I do find helpful.
Although there are no commemorations here, and I have a leaning towards Yom Ha'Shoah over Holocaust Memorial, I will be remembering.