President Rivlin: 900 Holocaust survivors died from Covid-19

President Reuven Rivlin delivered remarks at the official ceremony opening Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, at Yad Vashem

Arutz Sheva ,

President Rivlin at ceremony
President Rivlin at ceremony
Photo: GPO

President Reuven Rivlin delivered remarks at the official ceremony opening Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, at Yad Vashem

“900 Holocaust survivors passed away just in Israel, as a direct result of the pandemic," Rivlin said. "They survived the ghettos and the death camps, the immigrant ships and the internment camps. But the final battle of their lives was fought with them bewildered and isolated, behind masks and gloves, yearning for contact but parted from their loved ones. This evening, our hearts are with them and their families.”

President Rivlin conveyed a message to Israeli Holocaust survivors - “I thank you for the privilege you gave me to walk with you in the paths of remembrance from Holocaust to rebirth. I bow my head to you. I will forever bear your testimony in my heart. Soon, I will leave my official position as president, but I am not taking leave of my commitment as a person, a Jew, an Israeli to remember and remind, to educate according to the values you have passed on to us.”

“In recent years," the president added, "I have stood next to other heads of state at death camps, valleys of death, memorial sites and museums across Europe. I did not stand alone. With me were six million of our brothers and sisters. You survivors also stood with me. I have no words to describe the strength I drew from you. You Holocaust survivors, heroes of our rebirth, who found the fortitude do get up from the ground soaked in blood and tears, to look forward, to choose life, to love, to laugh, to enjoy, to believe, to build and to create. To build a national home and a home of your own".

"From you," he added, "I learned that we were not doomed to grow and develop by negating, in fear and under threat. On your behalf, I made sure to tell my interlocutors that we the Jewish people will always, always, defend ourselves by ourselves and will never put our fate in the hands of others. On your behalf, I swore to remember and remind that the Jewish people was not born at Auschwitz and that our spiritual, religious and political character was not formed there.”

This year, the central theme of the ceremony was “Until the Very Last Jew: Eighty Years Since the Onset of Mass Annihilation”. As is customary, six Holocaust survivors lit torches in memory of the six million Jews who were killed in the Holocaust.