President Shimon Peres vowed Monday that he would never forget the suffering of his family in the Holocaust, telling those gathered at the Knesset for a state remembrance ceremony to mark Holocaust Memorial Day of the way in which they were brutally slain along with 2,600 Jews in his home village of Wiszniew, Poland.
"I will never forget what was done to them.They were sent to a wooden synagogue and murdered with gunshots and fire," the president said at the annual "Every Man Has a Name" ceremony, named for a poem by Israeli poet Zelda that was inspired by the Holocaust.
Other MKs and speakers who spoke at the ceremony listed the members of their own families who were murdered in the Holocaust. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu read the names of his father in law's murdered family.
Opposition leader Shelly Yachimovich listed the names of her murdered family members and noted that she was named after her murdered grandmother.
Economics and Trade Minister, Naftali Bennett, named his murdered relatives and said that he has a cloth embroidered by one of them who was killed in the Holocaust at age 12 hanging in his office.
MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List) who attended the ceremony wrote on his Twitter page, "The Holocaust is one of the worst crimes in modern history, we should fight racism and hatred of others."
Twelfth Knesset speaker Dov Shilanksy (1924-2010), a Holocaust survivor, initiated the Knesset ceremony in 1989.
Israelis throughout the country paused daily activities to stand in silence and remember the Holocaust as a two-minute siren was sounded. Traffic halted on major highways and drivers pulled over and got out of their cars to honor the siren.
Ceremonies were held across Israel in memory of the six million Jews that perished in the Holocaust .
state ceremony marked the start of Remembrance day on Sunday evening.
“There will never again be another Holocaust,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pledged, in a direct challenge to Iran, during the ceremony.
Calling the Jews a people that “seeks peace,” Netanyahu noted that “there are those who seek to extinguish this light of ours.”
Speaking in the presence of foreign dignitaries, including Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair, Netanyahu said that the gates of most countries, if not all, were closed to the Jews during the Holocaust, “including the ‘enlightened ones.’” In what could be interpreted as a direct challenge to Tehran, Netanyahu recalled an incident in which an American who took part in the liberation of Buchenwald asked current Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau for forgiveness for arriving at the concentration camp “too late.” Lau was freed from the camp in 1945, at age eight.Find live Twiter updates on Holocaust Remembrance day from JPost reporters, here:
Lahav Harkov contributed to this report