The Holocaust is a stain on humanity, acting President Dalia Itzik told participants of Yad Vashem's central ceremony marking the beginning of Israel's annual Holocaust Remembrance Day on Sunday evening.
The event was attended by the nation's leaders and by foreign dignitaries, as well as Holocaust survivors.
Itzik spoke on behalf of the State, emphasizing that the terrible act committed by the Nazis were committed by people.
"The Holocaust proved evil can be organized," said Itzik. "The world needs to beware, and remember that the Nazis were human beings. The atrocities were created by people. The Holocaust is an "Ot Kain", a stain on humanity."
"There are no words that can explain the horror of the Shoah. Only the testimonies, silent and spoken can attain to this atrocity," said Itzik.
Holocaust Day events
The central theme for this year's Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day is Bearing Witness. Itzik spoke on this subject saying that "today, we reinforce our role as messengers, of the past and for the future - to remember and remind. We don't have the authority to forgive or forget, only to witness and testify."
Adressing Holocaust survivors, Itzik said, "we honor and bow our heads with dignity to you. Your place within the State of Israel is that of respect and honor. It is our duty to provide you, for the rest of your lives, with the ability to live respectfully."
Also speaking at the ceremony, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reminded guests and viewers of the importance remembering the Holocaust, and its role in the future of Israel's existence.
"Sixty-two years have passed since the end of the most gruesome battles history has bared witness to. On the day of victory, the entire world danced in the streets of the capital cities. Only the Jews did not join in these celebrations, there was no reason to celebrate - a third of their people were wiped out."
"Only on the day of Israel's independence did the Jews allow themselves to celebrate. In eight days we will be celebrating Israel's Independence Day. The correlation between this Remembrance Day, and the following celebrations is direct," Olmert continued.
"We must not be innocent in thinking that those who remember with us Holocaust Memorial Day are in the world's majority. Those who hate Israel, who attempt to erase both the memory of the Holocaust and that of Israel, are alive and dominant within the international community," said the prime minister.