Israel memorialized the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust with a series of commemorative events, beginning when a siren was sounded at 10:00am this morning Israeli time. Israel’s President read out the names of all of the victims and stated: “the soul of the Jewish people throbs here in Israel.”
69 years after the surrender of Nazi Germany and the end of WWII, the country marked today a day of remembrance for the six million Jewish victims murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators. The events of Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day opened last night at the Warsaw Ghetto Square in Yad Vashem and continued today, after the 10:00am siren was heard throughout the country, where Israelis observed two minutes of silence.
The main memorial ceremony was held in the Hall of Remembrance at Yad Vashem in the presence of Israeli President Shimon Peres, Israel’s Prime Minister, ministers, Knesset members, the Supreme Court President, and other dignitaries. At 10:02am, the wreath laying ceremony was held there.
In the Knesset, they called out the names of the victims also with the participation of Israeli President Shimon Peres, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, opposition leader MK Yitzhak Herzog, and many others.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu today Photo Credit: Government Press Office
“In memory of my family that were destroyed together with 2,060 members of their community in the city of Vishneva in August 1942 by the Nazis and their local henchmen, who concentrated them in a synagogue that was made of wood and they were burned alive,” Peres stated while calling out the names of the Holocaust victims.
“My grandfather led the community in his tallit to the synagogue that was torched by the Nazis, along with my grandmother, Rivka Meltzer. My grandfather Tzi Meltzer, my teacher and my rabbi, was separated from me at the train station, on the way to Israel, set out a future for me by saying be a Jew your whole life and act as a Jew throughout the way,” Peres related. Along with them, eight members of the Israeli President’s family perished.
IDF soldiers today Photo Credit: Government Press Office
Simultaneous to the event at Yad Vashem, a ceremony was also held in Bnei Brak organized by Bnei Brith and the Jewish National Fund. The ceremony was dedicated to respecting the work and legacy of thousands of Jews that saved other Jews during the Holocaust. During the ceremony, an award was given to the Jewish rescuer Yonas Eckstein, the grandfather of Benny Teitelbaum, who saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust.
At 2:00pm, the March of the Living took place in Poland. It has taken place for the past 27 years. Young Israeli and Diaspora Jews will march from the Auschwitz Death Camp to the nearby Birkanau Concentration Camp.
Siren today commemorates Holocaust Memorial Day Photo Credit: Flash 90
At the end of the march, the main memorial ceremony was held in Birkanau. The name of the parade is meant to counter the term death march, where Jewish prisoners in the Nazi concentration camps in Eastern Europe towards the end of WWII were murdered.
At 5:15pm, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz visited the home of Holocaust survivor Shmuel Gal in the framework of the Flowers for Survivors Project, in which commanders and IDF soldiers visit survivors. At 5:30pm, a youth rally took place at Yad Vashem in the presence of Israeli Minister of Education Shai Peron.