Later in his speech, Lau raised the issue of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. After mentioning the Geneva Convention, Lau said, "This young man has been sitting in a dark basement, an hour's drive from Tel Aviv, for nearly four years.
"Not a single doctor has visited him in this time. An objective doctor, from the Red Cross, from the United Nations. Where is the UN? Where is the world?"
Lau made an analogy between the world's response to Shalit's captivity and its silence at the face of the Holocaust. "The Nazis waited to see what the world would say or do. They did nothing."
He later noted, "What has the world learned? Nearly nothing. That is why it is so important that you are here. Go back and tell what you saw, felt and heard. The world must be shaken up."
Power of remembrance
Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky also gave a speech during the ceremony.
"I myself was born and raised several years after the Holocaust. I played in the Holocaust's killing fields without knowing what had happened. Only several years ago the government here realized the power of remembrance," he said.
"The Jewish people are not alone in remembering the Holocaust. Young people stand with us here today. They, like millions around the world, are determined to remember the Holocaust and make the world a more just place. This is exactly what Lech Kaczyński (Polish president who was killed in a plane crash Saturday) tried to do and we are greatly indebted to him," Sharabsky added.
More than 10,000 people participated in the annual March of the Living on Monday making their way from Auschwitz's central compound to the Birkenau camp.
As a token of sympathy with their Polish hosts, black ribbons were attached to the Israeli flags waived throughout the procession.