Each Person had a Name and Each Name Had a Story
A Community Holocaust Remembrance Project

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As the number of Holocaust survivors is getting smaller and smaller, it is upon us and the next generation to remember and to help the world remember. While we observe Yom Hashoah each year as a community, commemorating the loss of 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust, it is critical to remember not only the massive scale of the loss, but the uniqueness of each soul who died. As the poet Zelda wrote: L’chol Ish Yesh Shem/לכל איש יש שם — Each person had a name. And this is what we must bring forward and remember.  Shem VeNer is an Israeli organization that creates individual candles with QR codes on the back that take you to the stories of each victim. 

In early 2021 PSJC launched the "BEHIND THE CANDLE" project, coordinating with Shem VeNer, and with the guidance of Rabbi Carter, and PSJC members Daniel Marcu and Joel Levy.  This project invited members who lost family in the Holocaust to learn and research their lost family members together and collect stories and photos about them.  As of fall 2021 we opened the dedicated BEHIND THE CANDLE website (www.BehindTheCandle.org) as a place where anyone can come to learn more about each of these unique individuals.  The website has a page for each person, with stories, documents, writings, Yizkor books, and anything else that the families found and wrote about. 

Our BEHIND THE CANDLE website began with extraordinary information from five families who have successfully submitted names and stories to the project.  Through research, calls, and Zoom meetings families discovered incredible stories: parts of the family that they didn't know existed, family in Israel that was unknown, people believed to have perished who were discovered to have survived, names of the Righteous of the World who helped to save them, and so many powerful stories.

The project is ongoing and over the years we hope to add many more names and stories to the website.  This project is designed to bring forward and honor the names and lives of those who died in the Holocaust, and we need everyone (even if you do not know anyone who died in the Shoah) to help us out. We hope that you will visit the website and, if appropriate, submit the names of your family members who perished in the Shoah as well. We know some people have a great deal of information, others, very little. That is fine. We will work with you to research more and try to find more information about your family members. In fact, we also are looking for Teens and adult “buddies” who are willing to conduct or help with this research and bring to light stories and information. You don’t have to be an expert. We can teach you.  To be successful, this truly needs to be a communal effort. If you would like to become part of this project please reach out to us at behindthecandle@psjc.org.