Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sarah, met Thursday with the six Holocaust survivors who will light the torches at the opening ceremony of the Holocaust Martyrs 'and Heroes' Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem.
The torchbearers each arrived accompanied by a family member: some brought children, others grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Avner Shalev, Chairman of Yad Vashem, also participated in the meeting.
The six torchbearers told Netanyahu and his wife their stories of heroism and survival during the war until their immigration to Israel: how they survived the camps and the hardships of the war and how they immigrated to Israel and built their homes.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said that "the stories are moving. They are stories full of horror and glory. Each story is its own tale, and together they are the story of our people climbing back up from the pit of death. This is the story of our rebirth."
He told the survivors that "around this table, where we sit today, there is hardly a day when world leaders, presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers and other leaders do not come here and come to learn from the State of Israel. We are a powerful nation with capabilities in our economy, in technology, in the military, and in intelligence. There is a lot of admiration for the State of Israel. 'But where did it come from? How did you do it? You were ashes and dust,' they ask. So I look at you and ask, did you do it? For what we did afterwards is nothing compared to your great deed, and this is the great story of the resurrection [of the Jewish people]."
"This miracle is the explanation for our strength of the heart and courage, and the courage and strength to persevere is shown in each and every one of you. It is the life-force of our people, and it is a wonderful thing. Thank you so much," Netanyahu concluded.
Elka Abramovitz was born in 1932 in Novoselitsa in northern Serbia, Romania.
Jeanine Saban-Bouhana was born in 1929 in Namur, Algeria.
Moshe HaLevi was born in 1925 in Salonika, Greece.
Moshe Jakubowicz was born in 1929 in Warsaw, Poland.
Moshe Porat was born in 1931 in Hydenesh, Hungary.
Max Freibler was born in 1931 in the village of Mikulichin, Poland.
Esther Miron was born in Januszheza in western Hungary.