Israelis to commemorate 70 years since end of Holocaust

Rivlin, Netanyahu and chief rabbis to attend official evening ceremony at Yad Vashem; Survivors to light memorial torches.

April 15, 2015 05:05
2 minute read.
STUDENTS FROM Germany visit the Hall of Names at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem

STUDENTS FROM Germany visit the Hall of Names at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Israelis across the country will mark Holocaust Remembrance Day with memorials and ceremonies on Wednesday evening and Thursday.

The commemoration of the six million Jews murdered by the Germans will begin with a torch-lighting ceremony attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and other senior officials at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. Chief rabbis Yitzhak Yosef and David Lau will recite psalms and the “Mourner’s Kaddish” prayer.

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The theme of this year’s commemoration is “The Anguish of Liberation and the Return to Life: 70 years since the end of World War II,” and it will be broadcast live on channels 1, 2, 9, 10 and 33.

During the ceremony, survivors Dov Shimoni, Sara Weinstein, Ephraim Reichenberg, Eggi Lewysohn and Shela Altaraz will each light a torch in remembrance of those murdered during the war.

Yad Vashem has called on the public to fill in pages of testimony in commemoration of those killed in the Holocaust.

An English-language ceremony sponsored by Nefesh B’Nefesh, Adopt-A-Safta and the Israel Forever Foundation will be held at Tel Aviv’s Goren Community Center Wednesday evening as well.

On Thursday at 10 a.m. the entire country will come to a standstill during the sounding of the annual memorial siren, followed by a wreath-laying ceremony at Yad Vashem’s Warsaw Ghetto Square attended by the president, prime minister, deputy speaker of the Knesset and other senior governmental, military and political figures.

Afterward, at the Hall of Remembrance, a ceremonial reading of the names of Holocaust victims will take place.

On Thursday, Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog will speak at a memorial at the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum.

Also Thursday, the Jewish National Fund and B’nai B’rith will hold a memorial at Jerusalem’s Martyrs’ Forest to posthumously honor a Greek rabbi who led partisans against the Nazis.

“The phenomenon 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,” the two groups said in a statement.

On Monday, the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims released a report stating that 45,000 Holocaust survivors in Israel are living below the poverty line.

Four out of 10 survivors have found that their finances do “not allow them to live in dignity,” while two-thirds indicated that they are “very or fairly troubled” over their financial future, an increase of 7 percent over 2014.

And according to new research released by Bar-Ilan University, the children of survivors are markedly more anxious about the Iranian nuclear program than their peers.

“Second-generation Holocaust survivors show not only more preoccupation and sensitivity to the Iranian threat, but also a more ominous outlook on the world in general – a world of threat and significant danger that can fall upon them,” the study’s author found.

Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry is set to release its annual global anti-Semitism assessment Wednesday morning. Jewish communities in Europe have expressed increasing fears regarding the growing prevalence of anti-Jewish sentiments and violence on the continent.

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