Photo: Reuters
Holocaust Remembrance Day
Photo: Reuters
Israel honors victims of Nazi crimes with siren, ceremonies
Knesset service takes theme 'Everyone Has a Name'; ceremonies also take place at Yad Vashem, Forest of the Martyrs and Kibbutz Yad Mordechai.

Israelis on Monday honored the memories of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust, with a nationwide two-minute siren, and ceremonies and services across the country.



At 10am, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and other assorted dignitaries were at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem as the siren sounded and the country came to a standstill.


Immediately afterwards, the ceremonies commemorating the day got underway at Yad Vashem, where wreaths of flowers were laid in the central plaza.


An hour later, the annual Knesset ceremony began with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, who echoed the theme of the event, itself named for the poem "Everyone has a name" by Israeli poet Zelda.


"Everyone must have a name, not a number; a real name, given to him by his parents," said Edelstein.


Netanyahu and Peres took up the mantle, reciting the names of family members who lost their lives in the Holocaust.


Peres talked of his home town of Vishnyeva, formerly in Poland, and how the 2,000 strong population all perished when they were locked in a wooden syanogue, which was set alight.


"Half of the Jews of Vishnyeva made aliyah to Israel, the other half, which did not - were burned alive," said Peres.  "Our body has been cleft in twain. Our spirit remains undivided. It pulsates here, in Israel, as a locked memory and as an independent Jewish renaissance, which will never again face destruction." 


Meanwhile, the B'nai B'rith International center and Jewish National Fund held a joint ceremony at the Forest of the Martyrs on the outskirts of Jerusalem, to honor the thousands of Jews who rescued their co-religionists from Nazi clutches. MK Amram Mitzna, the chairman of the Education, Culture, and Sports Committee, and Slovakia's Ambassador to Israel Radovan Javorčík, were to be in attendance.


At 1 pm, a state memorial service was held at the Hall of Names in Yad Vashem.


At 2:30 pm, the March of the Living in Poland was set to begin, with participants walking the short distance from Auschwitz to the Birkenau extermination camp.


At 7 pm, the closing ceremony for the Holocaust Remembrance Day will take place at Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, near Ashkelon, which was founded by Polish Holocaust survivors and named for Mordechai Anielewicz, the leader of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.


Related stories:


The 2014 Remembrance Day is marked amidst the rise of the right in Europe. On Sunday, parliamentarians from across Europe warned against the revival of the Nazi ideology and the increase in anti-Semitism all across the continent.


In a ceremony opening the March of the Living in Hungary on Sunday, lawmakers from Greece, Poland, Belgium and Spain warned that the wave of nationalism that has swept over many countries in Europe brings with it the revival of Nazi and fascist ideas.


A report published by the Cantor Center at Tel Aviv University showed that in 2013, 554 violent anti-Semitic incidents were documented in Europe - committed both with weapons or without - and included arson, vandelism and direct threats, against people, synagogues, community centers, schools, cemeteries, monuments and private property. This was a 19 percent drop in such cases, but according to the report the number of direct attacks at people rose.


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