Today in Jerusalem :: Yom Hashoah Holocaust Remembrance Day
Through all of the challenges of dealing with coronavirus quarantine, we remember the atrocities committed by the German Nazis and their collaborators. The atrocities against the Jewish Nation and against the entire world. The national holocaust museum and educational center is located in Israel’s eternal unified capital city of Jerusalem. We recognize with ever increasing urgency, the role that Jerusalem has always played and always will play for the Jewish People.
Photo of Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Photos of Victims courtesy: Gary Todd [License]
Clouded by coronavirus, Israel marks Holocaust Memorial Day
Article Courtesy: Israel Hayom
The 2020 Holocaust Remembrance Day was an unusual one, as its events, which began on Monday evening, were shrouded with an eerie silence, forced on them by the public health directives concerning the coronavirus outbreak.
All major state ceremonies will be held as planned but will be devoid of an audience over coronavirus-related restrictions. Most cities, however, canceled their traditional ceremonies, in line with the Health Ministry’s restrictions on public gatherings.
A two-minute siren wailed nationwide on Tuesday morning, honoring the victims. It was followed by the wreath-laying ceremony in Jerusalem, at the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising monument, which was also held sans an audience.
The main ceremony at Yad Vashem, held on Monday evening, at the national Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, was prerecorded. The event was held in front of an empty Warsaw Ghetto Square, a far cry from the traditional ceremony attended by dignitaries and Holocaust survivors.
Only the master of ceremonies and artists who performed songs were present, while the keynote speakers sent video messages.
In his message, President Reuven Rivlin said all Israelis must remember the Nazi genocide of some 6 million Jews in World War II.
“The Nazi beast conquered bodies, but not spirits. In the paths of tears, in the valleys of hell, in a disintegrating world devoid of solidarity, when death was among them every day, our brothers and sisters put their lives at risk to save the weakest among them,” he said.
“They proved time and against that even at the lowest point, one can and must choose to be human, to hold the most fundamental Jewish value of life, of mutual responsibility. And so they were the angels in the heart of hell,” he added.
Recalling the World Holocaust Forum in January, which attracted dozens of world leaders to Jerusalem, the president underscored the need to remember the atrocities of the Holocaust.
“We recognized a simple truth, that we must stand together, global leaders and citizens of the world, against racism, anti-Semitism and fascism, defending democracy and democratic values,” he said.
He further cautioned against rising anti-Semitism, whose malignant spread he compared to that of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who spoke via video after Rivlin, said Israel embraces its Holocaust survivors, but could not do so this year in person.
“Our brothers and sisters, Holocaust survivors, we all embrace you at this time, and we do so with profound appreciation and love. We grieve the Holocaust survivors who were recently taken from us by the coronavirus and we send our condolences to their families. We share in your pain.
“We face many difficulties at this time, but they cannot and do not compare – by any measure – with the methodical, diabolical extinction of six million Jews. We are currently facing a dangerous plague but plagues ravaged the ghettos and camps. The confinement of tens of thousands of Jews in a very small area claimed countless victims who died from typhus and dysentery,” he said.
“Of course, the situation today is entirely different. Today, we have a national home, we have our own country – a strong, advanced and highly appreciated country.
“Three months ago, we hosted the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem, and leaders from all over the world marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. I saw them. I spoke with them. They were deeply impressed with our success in transforming helplessness into strength and tremendous achievements.
“And all the leaders who were there committed to fighting against antisemitism and other expressions of racism. Of course, we all welcomed that, but at the same time, and this was my central message at the Holocaust Forum, Israel must always be responsible for its own destiny. In any event, at any time, we must have the strength and the willingness to defend ourselves by ourselves.”
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