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April 17, 2012 4:53 pm

Chicago Teenager Marks the Shoah, Everyday

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Zak Kolar. Photo: New Jersey Jewish Standard.

The date selected for Yom Hashoah, 27 Nisan, marks the beginning of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Chosen—not without controversy—by the Israeli Knesset in 1953, it serves as an occasion to mark the deaths of those Jews murdered by the Nazis for whom no date of death is known.

But what of those whose dates of death were recorded?

For 16-year-old Zak Kolar, who lives in the Chicago area, remembering the six million and marking their yahrzeits has become a calling. His website,, collects the names of Shoah victims as well as their yahrzeits. Every day, visitors to the website find a list of victims to remember.

“It allows us to say Kaddish for them not as a faceless mass but with the dignity and individual attention that each one of them deserves,” says Kolar.

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Visitors can “adopt” a name and be e-mailed annually when the yahrzeit approaches.

The site contains some 6,440 names in its database.

Kolar came up with the idea for the site during Yizkor services. Now he makes remembering Holocaust victims a part of his daily life. “Every night before I go to bed, I read the list of people who perished on that day,” he says.

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