President Barack Obama will this year mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day by attending a ceremony at the Israeli embassy in Washington.
In an unusual move, Obama will take part in a ceremony to recognize four Righteous Among the Nations (non-Jews who who risked their own lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from the Nazis), Army Radio reported Friday.
The day of remembrance, which this year falls on January 27, is observed around the world, while Israel has its own Holocaust Remembrance Day in the Hebrew month of Nissan (April/May in the Gregorian calendar).
The Washington, DC ceremony is the first of its kind to be held in the US, and will honor two Americans and two Poles, whose families will receive an award in their name.
In October, the Obama administration earmarked $12 million for assistance to Holocaust survivors. The allocation from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Jewish Federations of North America, to be disbursed over five years, is part of an initiative launched in late 2013 by Vice President Joe Biden to address the needs of survivors in the United States, a quarter of whom live below the poverty line.
Combined with matching private funds, the approximately $2.5 million per year over the five years “will support $4.1 million in programming annually for organizations that help Holocaust survivors,” the JFNA said. According to JFNA, the funds will be used to advance “innovations in person-centered, trauma-informed supportive services for Holocaust survivors.”
JTA contributed to this report