Israel to recall victims on remembrance day
Delegation of Roma to attend official state ceremony at Yad Vashem today at sundown.
Netanyahu visits the elderly Photo: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO
Israel will remember the victims of Nazi persecution on Holocaust Remembrance
Day in memorials and events across the country that start Wednesday at
The main ceremony, broadcast live at 8 p.m on all major
television and radio outlets, will be held at Yad Vashem. President
Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and former chief rabbi and
Holocaust survivor Yisrael Meir Lau will be in attendance.
This year a
delegation of Roma – also known as gypsies, though the term is widely considered
a pejorative – from Germany will attend the state ceremony in Jerusalem.
Hundreds of thousands of Roma were murdered by the Nazis and their allies
alongside Jews during World War II.
“Roma and Sinti of Europe do have a
special relation to Israel,” said Romani Rose of the German Council of Roma and
Sinti. “Without Israel, we would be faced with a much stronger anti-Semitism in
Europe; the Central Council observes with great concern the current development.
We would wish that Israel closely monitors the racism against Sinti and Roma in
The current debate in Germany shows the necessity of a constant
dispute of open and latent anti-Semitism and Racism.”
ceremonies across the country will start at 10 a.m. the following morning with a
B’nai B’rith will hold a joint memorial event with the
Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund honoring Jews who saved their
coreligionists during the war. Officials of Jewish organizations, Holocaust
survivors, some 200 Border Patrol cadets and 200 high school students will take
part in the service held at the Martyr’s Forest “Scroll of Fire” plaza in
“The phenomena of Jewish rescue and the instructive stories of
thousands of Jews who labored to save their endangered brethren throughout
Europe are yet to receive appropriate public recognition and resonance,” B’nai
B’rith said in a press release.
“Many who could have tried to flee
preferred to stay and rescue others; some paid for it with their
This year, Recha Freier and Josef Itai, who encouraged German
Jews to immigrate to Palestine before the war broke out, will receive special
mention at the ceremony.
Every year Israel marks Holocaust Remembrance
Day in mid-April, depending on the Jewish calendar, a period chosen because of
its proximity to the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Its decision to
couple its memorial day with the uprising, an act of Jewish resistance, stands
in contrast to the United Nations decision to designate January 27, the day the
Red Army liberated the Nazi death camp Auschwitz, as International Holocaust
Yad Vashem officials on Tuesday invited the public to continue to
donate Holocaust- related documents, artifacts, photographs and art to its
ongoing “Gathering the Fragments” campaign.