Over seventy years ago, half of the earth's Jewish population perished at the hands of another Amalek, an Austrian house painter who seized control of Europe and threw the earth into darkness. God's light unto the other nations flickered but did not die. A new, modern Exodus arose from the depths of despair and tragedy. From the ashes of Europe, survivors of the Holocaust, or Shoah, made their way towards new lives. Emigrants dispersed around the world, to the new State of Israel and to the western hemisphere. In these places, they began to rebuild shattered lives. In the following decades, survivors asked another question. How could Yahrzeits be observed for those victims whose entire families had been wiped out? An idea was born, a special memorial candle with yellow wax, in remembrance of the yellow stars forced upon European Jews in the 1930s.
The Yellow Candle™ was created in 1981 by FJMC clubs in Canada, New England and elsewhere to keep alive the memory of the Six Million who perished in the Shoah. The Candle is modeled after a traditional Jewish memorial Yahrzeit candle that burns for 24 hours during periods of mourning and on the Yahrzeit anniversary of a family member. The candle's yellow wax serves to remind us of the yellow arm band which Jews were forced to wear during the Nazi regime. A photo on the candle container shows young people visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. This reflects the importance of teaching our youth the lessons of the Holocaust and of remembering the Six Million. In addition, the program logo is a yellow Magen David (Star of David) outlined with barbed wire, with the word "Jude" in the middle. This preserves the memory of the armband or cloth patch that Jews were forced to wear in the ghettos of Eastern Europe.
Your group can run a successful Yellow Candle program. Success means distributing as many Candles as possible. No human being who wishes to memorialize a victim should be left out. For Jewish people, remembering a victim is a great mitzvah.
This website and the Yom HaShoah Yellow Candle™ Guide are valuable resources for enhancing your observance of Yom HaShoah. Please take the time to explore and download the Guide from the menu on left side of this page.
Never Forget! Zachor!
Yellow Candle™ is a trademark of the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs, Inc.