In Hebrew the word is “Shoah.” Catastrophe.

Its English equivalent, which is derived from the Greek, is “Holocaust”: whole burned.

The words are inadequate descriptions of one of the worst examples of man’s inhumanity to man: the Nazi genocide.

About 6 million Jews perished; somewhere around 6 million more gypsies, homosexuals, prisoners, the disabled, Jehovah’s Witnesses, freedom fighters and others opposed to the German regime died from execution, starvation, overwork and disease.

Millions more were killed by the German army as it made its way through Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. Civilians. Women. Children. The elderly. Many were made to dig the ditches along whose edge they were lined up and shot.

This week, the world remembers. The commemoration will take several forms. People will light candles and pray. They will pull out mementos from World War II. They will reflect on lost relatives, and they will express gratitude for those who risked their lives to protect the victims. They will gather together to reinforce a collective humanity that transcends religion and ethnicity, politics and class.

Main event In Charleston, the annual Yom HaShoah program will be offered at 3 p.m. April 22, hosted by Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim Synagogue, 90 Hasell St.

Felicia Carmelly, a survivor from Romania, is the featured speaker. The program also features the Charleston premiere of “Tomorrow Never Came,” a song cycle by Ayala Asherov-Kalus based on children’s poems from Terezin, a concentration camp near Prague. Mezzo-soprano Janet Hopkins, a veteran of the Metropolitan Opera, will perform the piece.

The event concludes with a silent march to the Holocaust Memorial in Marion Square. The program, sponsored by the Charleston Jewish Federation, is free and open to the public.

Limited complimentary parking with a voucher will be available at the Charleston Place Garage and Marion Square Garage. Contact Sandra Brett at 556-6600 or [/URL]