Rivlin opens Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony in prerecorded speech

"Even in these difficult times, when we are confronting a global pandemic and the current sense of anxiety, we hear and make place for remembering the past, the victims and you, the survivors."

PRESIDENT REUVEN RIVLIN wears a black kippah at the Bundestag. (photo credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)
PRESIDENT REUVEN RIVLIN wears a black kippah at the Bundestag.
(photo credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)
President Reuven Rivlin opened the official ceremony marking the beginning of Holocaust Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem, recorded in advance without guests due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The virus was a central part of the speech.
"Over the past few weeks, it seems as if the world has stopped dead," Rivlin said. "The fight against the coronavirus pandemic is setting the agenda of our lives right now, from one news broadcast to the next, from one set of instructions to the next."
However, he added that the virus should not stop Holocaust Remembrance Day from being observed and keeping the memory of the past alive.
"Even in these difficult times, when we are confronting a global pandemic and the current sense of anxiety, we hear and make place for remembering the past, the victims and you, the survivors."
The president reminded viewers that 2020 marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, with Yad Vashem hosting a major international conference of world leaders in order "to give voice to our shared commitment to passing on the historical facts and lessons of the Holocaust to future generations," he said.
"We recognized a simple truth, that we must stand together, global leaders and citizens of the world, against racism, antisemitism and fascism, defending democracy and democratic values.
"The current pandemic, which is a global concern, the war against an invisible, inhuman enemy which makes no distinction between peoples only sharpens our shared commitment to human solidarity, mutual responsibility, an uncompromising fight against antisemitism and hatred which are also spreading, like a virus, among people."
Rivlin concluded his opening address with a pledge to never forget the Holocaust and to keep the memory of it alive.
"We pledge to remember," he said. "We promise to pass on the torch of memory, with you and on your behalf. We will never be parted. May the memory of our brothers and sisters be forever bound in the bond of life.”