Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorations took place across Israel on Monday, with a two minute siren silencing the country as it marked the memory of six million Jews murdered in Europe during the Holocaust.
Israel’s main commemoration service took place at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin laid wreaths next a memorial in tribute to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943. The theme of the commemoration was ‘Restoring Their Identities: The Fate of the Individual During the Holocaust’.
On Sunday evening, the Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremonies began with six survivors lighting beacons, one for each million Jews killed.
President Rivlin addressed the survivors and other attendees, focusing on the preservation of humanity and remembering to heed lessons learnt from the genocide of the Jewish people.
He said: “We cannot remain silent in the face of the horrors being committed far away from us, and certainly those happening just across the border. Maintaining one’s humanity: this is the immense courage bequeathed to us by the victims – and by you, the survivors of the Shoah”.
On Monday morning, the Knesset commemorated the day with a ceremony called “Unto Every Person There is a Name”, where lawmakers recited the names of individuals killed during the Holocaust.
In Poland, thousands of people took part in the March of the Living event, which involves participants walking with survivors the two mile railway track between Auschwitz and Birkenau, where 1.1 million Jews were murdered.
IDF Chief Gadi Eisenkot spoke at Auschwitz-Birkenau on Monday, stating: “69 years after its inception, the State of Israel continues to face enemies bent on its destruction. In the moment of truth, we will fight relentlessly and fulfil the IDF’s purpose: to defend the State of Israel, ensure its existence and, if need be, win decisively in war”.
He continued: “We shall continue to keep watch, united and steadfast, and we will continue to ensure that no power can call into question our existence as a land or a people”.
“Standing here in front of these tracks of death, which carried away and silenced the voices of so many of our people, let us solemnly swear that no more shall the voices of our people be muted”.
Education Minister Naftali Bennet, Supreme Court Chief Justice Miriam Naor and Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi and child survivor of Auschwitz Camp Rabbi Israeli Meir Lau were also took part in the march.
The UK’s main Yom HaShoah service took place in London, where Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Israel’s Ambassador to the UK H.E. Mark Regev, 180 Holocaust survivors and others gathered at the Allianz Stadium.