'Every person has a name': Knesset reads names of Holocaust victims

Knesset members read the names of relatives who perished in the Holocaust and light candles to honor their memory.

May 3, 2019 03:11
1 minute read.
Freshman Knesset member Gadi Yevarkan lights a candle in memory of the victims of the Holocaust

Freshman Knesset member Gadi Yevarkan lights a candle in memory of the victims of the Holocaust at the Knesset's annual “Every Person Has a Name” ceremony, May 2 2019.. (photo credit: KNESSET SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)


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The Knesset held its annual “Every Person Has a Name” ceremony for Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday, with MKs and dignitaries reading the names of those who perished.

The ceremony, named for a poem by Zelda inspired by the atrocities of the Holocaust, was instituted in 1989 by then-Knesset speaker Dov Shilansky, a Holocaust survivor and partisan fighter against the Nazis.

The memorial began with the lighting of six candles in honor of the six million Jews who perished.

Among the candle-lighters was leading religious-Zionist Rabbi Chaim Druckman, a Holocaust survivor born in what was then Poland. Today, Druckman has 10 children, 80 grandchildren and 70 great-grandchildren.

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, whose parents were Holocaust survivors, also lit a candle, as did new Yisrael Beytenu MK Evgeny Sova, in honor of his relatives and the many thousands of other Jews who fought in the Red Army against the Nazis.

After the candle lighting, the ceremony consisted of officials reading names of their family members or others who perished in the Holocaust.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu kept his annual tradition of reading a poem written in Israel in 1941 by his father-in-law, Shmuel Ben-Artzi, when he lost touch with his family in Europe and did not know what happened to them. They all died in the Holocaust.

President Reuven Rivlin listed relatives of his wife, Nechama Rivlin, who participated in past ceremonies, but is currently in a coma following a lung transplant.

Several MKs, whose family members were not murdered in the Holocaust, read names of people whose country of origin is the same as their families’, such as Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, honoring the memory of children killed in the Benghazi and Giado death camps in Libya, and MKs Amir Peretz (Labor) and Rafi Peretz (URP) reading names of Moroccan Jews killed by the Nazis.

The Knesset added a new element to its memorial ceremony, stationing a table with hundreds of candles at the entrance to the building to be lit by all who enter. Each candle was in a cup labeled with the name of someone killed in the Holocaust.

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