PM: 'March of the Living' reminds us evil doesn't triumph

Israel observes 2 minute silence to honor Shoah victims; PM, Peres, IDF chief attend Yad Vashem wreath ceremony; Gantz visits survivors.

May 2, 2011 17:23
2 minute read.
President Peres at wreath laying ceremony

Peres Wreath Ceremony 311. (photo credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)


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Poland's annual "March of the Living" in which thousands make their way from the Auschwitz to Birkenau concentration camps is an "ultimate reminder that evil does not triumph," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Monday during Holocaust Remembrance Day.

"Jews and non-Jews alike have come from all around the world to march in a place where unimaginable evil once triumphed," Netanyahu said. "Your march is an ultimate reminder that evil does not triumph."

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At 10 a.m. Monday, sirens wailed throughout Israel as people observed a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the Nazi persecution on Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day.

Immediately following the siren, the wreath laying ceremony at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem took place, attended by Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and IDF Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz.

The ceremony was followed by the "Unto every person there is a name" ceremony at the Knesset in which the names of Holocaust victims were read aloud. Knesset chairman Reuven Rivlin, Peres and Netanyahu spoke at the event, recounting the final moments of their family members in the Holocaust.

Gantz also visited Holocaust survivors, saying "Each Jew should see himself as if he or she survived the Holocaust."

Thousands of Israelis took part in the moment of silence, including many drivers who stopped their cars, a familiar scene on memorial days in Israel.

On Sunday evening, Netanyahu said at the official state ceremony held at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem that the world has not learned the lessons of the Holocaust but Israel has. The prime minister said the Jewish state was capable of defending itself against any potential threat.

This year, the central theme of the ceremony was Fragments of Memory: The Faces Behind the Documents, Artifacts and Photographs, a campaign launched by the Holocaust museum aimed at collecting and preserving documents so that future generations may learn about the genocide of the Jewish people by the Nazis from first-hand sources.

The closing ceremony of the day will take place at Yad Mordechai, the kibbutz adjacent to Gaza named after Mordechai Anielewicz, the leader of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising who was killed in the fighting.

 Gil Shefler contributed to this report.

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