Sirens wail across Israel as country remembers Holocaust
Apr 16, 2007 - 4:04:25 PM
Tel Aviv, April 16 - Sirens wailed across Israel for two minutes Monday morning and citizens stood in solemn silence to remember the victims of the Nazi World War II genocide.
As the sirens began at 10 a.m. -, traffic came to a total standstill as drivers stood next to their cars and pedestrians stopped walking, many of them standing at attention or with their heads bowed.
Holocaust Memorial Day began Sunday night with a ceremony at Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Institute, attended by state leaders, foreign diplomats, and Holocaust survivors and their relatives.
Six survivors lit six beacons honouring the six million Jews killed by the Nazis and their collaborators.
Under the theme 'Bearing Witness,' the commemorations continue Monday, with ceremonies across the country, while television and radio channels broadcast special programmes focusing on the Nazi attempt to murder the Jews of Europe.
The names of the victims - or as many names as are known - will be read out at the Knesset and at Yad Vashem's Hall of Remembrance.
Speaking at the ceremonies Sunday night, acting President Dalia Itzik said the Holocaust was a stain on humanity and proved that evil could be organized.
'The world needs to beware, and remember that the Nazis were human beings. The atrocities were created by people. The Holocaust is an 'Ot Kain' -, a stain on humanity,' she said.
- six million - who were murdered say to us 'we thought it could not happen, we relied on the goodness of others and when we awoke from our illusions it was too late',' Yosef Lapid, a Holocaust survivor who heads the Yad Vashem Council, told the commemoration ceremony.
'If you want to understand us, if you want to know what drives us, think of the Holocaust, because we think of it each day,' he said.
The United Nations has designated January 27, the day the Auschwitz death camp was liberated in 1945, as international Holocaust remembrance day, but Israel has traditionally marked it on the 27th day of the Jewish month of Nissan, one week before Independence Day, to symbolize the birth of the Jewish state from the ashes of the Holocaust.
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