Yom HaShoah Events Continuing

Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day ceremonies continue into evening. The March of the Living group set off from Auschwitz to Israel today.

Nissan Ratzlav-Katz ,

March of the Living at Auschwitz
March of the Living at Auschwitz
Israel News Photo: (archive)

Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day ceremonies which began Monday night will continue into Tuesday evening. The March of the Living, starting in Europe, began the difficult march from Auschwitz on Tuesday.

Israel came to a standstill for two minutes at 10:00 o'clock Tuesday morning as air raid sirens blasted in remembrance of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. Cars stopped and people stood in place, many with heads bowed, in memory of the victims. Many restaurants, bars and places of entertainment are closed during the day today in honor of the day's solemnity.

An official wreath-laying ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial followed the siren's blast. The Yad Vashem event was preceded by a reading of victims' names in a ceremony titled "Everyone Has a Name". Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, and former Israel Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, who was a child survivor himself, addressed the gathering.

Official Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremonies then moved to the Knesset. A memorial service was held at Yad Vashem at 1:00 p.m. Additional events at Yad Vashem were to include a 4:00 p.m. gathering by veterans of the Jewish underground in France and an assembly of Israeli youth groups at 5:30 p.m. Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar is slated to attend the latter event.

At the Tzavta conference hall in Tel Aviv at 6:30 p.m., members of the Generation to Generation organization will hold a special gathering.

Closing Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremonies will be held at 7:30 p.m. at Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, in the south of the country, and at 7:45 p.m. at Kibbutz Lochamei HaGetaot (the Ghetto Fighters Kibbutz), located in the Western Galilee. Defense Minister Ehud Barak will address the Lochamei HaGetaot event, which will take place in the amphitheater of the community's Ghetto Fighter's House museum.

At night, following the conclusion of the official events, there will be a special screening of the documentary Killing Kasztner at the Jerusalem Theater. The 2008 film tells the story of Israel Kasztner, a Hungarian Jewish Zionist leader who negotiated with Adolf Eichmann for the lives of thousands during the Holocaust. He was later put on trial in Israel as the "man who sold his soul to the devil" and was subsequently assassinated by several former pre-state underground fighters in 1957.

In Poland, Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom will lead the annual March of the Living, which traces the death march Nazis forced upon concentration camp inmates from Auschwitz to Birkenau.

The March of the Living, embarked upon by thousands of Jewish students from around the world, traditionally begins in Europe just before Yom HaShoah and concludes in Israel with Israeli Independence Day. For the first time, a group of 20 representatives from a German military officers school will also take part in the march.

Other related videos:

Survivors: From Mengele to Zion
Survivor: Lived in Horse Stable
Survivor: Esther in Bergen-Belsen
Survivor: Sent to Sea to Die
Survivor: Escaped Via the Train Window
Survivor: Shimon Beneath His Dead Father
Interview: SS Guard Describes Treblinka Murders
Holocaust Day Siren: Tel Aviv Comes to a Standstill
Auschwitz – The Last Photo Album