Remembering Six Million Murdered

At 10 a.m. yesterday the State of Israel came to a standstill as sirens wailed across the country for two minutes, calling people to remember the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Pedestrians stood still and traffic stopped on busy streets. Drivers got out of their vehicles and stood on the roads with heads bowed. All this took place in remembrance of what was the darkest period in human history and a dreadful blow to the Jewish people.

Holocaust Remembrance Day began on Wednesday evening, with Israel’s Prime Minister and President attending an opening event at the Hall of Remembrance in the Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. There they laid a wreath in memory of the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis during the course of World War II. During that ceremony, 6 torches were lit by 6 Holocaust survivors.

The day was also marked by educational programmes and a variety of commemorative ceremonies, including one at the Yad Vashem in memory of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

At the Knesset, the names of Holocaust victims were recited throughout the day.

In Poland, more than 10,000 people took part in the annual ‘March of the Living’, which covers 3 kilometres from Auschwitz to Birkenau – the largest complex among the Nazi concentration camps built during World War II.

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, led a group of ambassadors to join the march and warned that:

“We`re facing a new wave of antisemitism in Europe and North America and cannot be silent.”

On a more optimistic note he added:

“Ambassadors will become witnesses; they will see the horrible sites
and we will learn the message for the future ...
I believe that together we can prevent the next atrocity,
together we can prevent the next holocaust.”

A troubling indication of the relevance of Ambassador Danon’s warning was a very different march. That one involved flag-waving neo-Nazis in self-styled uniforms who marched through the eastern German town of Plauen on May Day unhindered by police.

The head of Germany’s Central Council of Jews voiced the fears of many when he said that:

“Right-wing extremists are marching in Saxony in a way that brings back memories
of the darkest chapter in German history.”