Holocaust Remembrance Day Closing Ceremony at the Ghetto Fighters' House Museum.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
Closing ceremony for Holocaust Remembrance Day held at the Ghetto Fighters’ House museum in the Western Galilee, in the presence of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Former German President Joachim Gauck.
The amphitheater adjacent to the Ghetto Fighters Museum on Kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot in the Western Galilee was packed to capacity when Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and outgoing German President Joachim Gauck arrived to participate in the closing ceremony of Holocaust Remembrance Day 2017, which this year fell on April 24. The Ghetto Fighters’ House was developed with the support of KKL-JNF and its Friends worldwide, who helped provide crucial infrastructure for the museum and the kibbutz, and today continue to contribute to caring for the site.
Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Ghetto Fighters Museum, Dr. Arye Carmon, introduced the two honored guests, saying that “the very meeting of these two presidents on Holocaust Memorial Day is an important and symbolic event.” This was the first time ever that a senior German official had attended a Holocaust memorial ceremony in Israel.
President Reuven Rivlin warned of an escalating trend whereby European officials attempt to distort history and deny responsibility for the Holocaust.
“The message arising from recent political statements is disturbing. And in every place that message is the same: ‘We are not responsible for the Holocaust. We are not responsible for the extermination of the Jewish people which occurred within our borders’. Claiming victimization does not absolve them of responsibility.”
Rivlin criticized the statements of French presidential candidate Marine le Pen in particular. “For example, a French presidential candidate denied France’s responsibility for the deportation of its Jewish citizens to the Nazi death camps. A member of her party denied, not only French involvement in the deportation of the Jews to destruction, but the very fact that they were murdered.”
Former German President Joachim Gauck spoke about his feelings as a young man growing up in East Germany. “Those were days that I was ashamed to be German. I could not love my country and moreover I hated it! My generation related to our parents with disgust.”
The closing Holocaust Memorial Ceremony this year was dedicated to the value and importance of generational transmission of Holocaust remembrance. Amongst the large audience, which included many Holocaust survivors and their families, were thousands of youngsters from Israeli youth movements, and soldiers.
Read more and watch ceremony on video