Israel News Agency Staff
May 1 2008
raid sirens marking Israel Holocaust Day will sound at 10 a.m.
today throughout Israel.
---- May 1, 2008 ...... "We will never forget, we will
never hide and we will never stop asking ourselves every morning
what we must do to prevent what happened to ever repeat itself,"
Israel President Shimon Peres said at the main ceremony at the
Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial at sundown Wednesday.
torches were lit during the ceremony to honour the memory of
the six million Jews who were murdered by the Nazis during World
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned that anti-Semitism and that
Holocaust denial was on the rise across the world, referring
mainly to Iran.
63 years later, who would believe, the ugly face of the hatred
of Jews and Israelis appears on different stages across the
planet," the premier said at the ceremony.
wish to deny the right of existence of the Jewish state, and
you are wrong to believe that the Jewish state was created only
due to the Holocaust.
Holocaust only underscored the necessity of its creation and
the horrible price that the Jewish people had to pay for the
lack of existence of a state that can shelter them," Olmert
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has branded the Holocaust a "myth"
and in 2006 Tehran hosted a controversial revisionist Holocaust
conference and sponsored a Holocaust
cartoon contest, for which Israel and the international
community responded to.
study published by Tel Aviv University earlier on Monday said
the worldwide number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2007 increased
by nearly seven percent from the previous year.
--- April 15, 2007..... Arisen from the black ashes and white
smoke of Europe's Holocaust is the modern state of Israel.
Throughout every Israel city, town, Moshav and Kibbutz, thousands
attended Holocaust memorial services this evening. Under a dark
blanket of stars and an early Spring chill, men, women and children
sat silently on white plastic chairs to "bear witness"
to the murdering of over 6 million Jews.
Israel government, in cooperation with the Israel
Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem stated that the
central theme for this years Holocaust Martyrs and
Heroes Remembrance Day would be Bearing Witness. The Official
Opening Ceremony for Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes
Remembrance Day took place at 20:00, at the Warsaw Ghetto Square,
Yad Vashem, Har Hazikaron in Jerusalem.
Acting President Dalia Itzik and Israel Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert addressed the participants. Avner Shalev, Yad Vashem
Chairman, kindled the Memorial Torch. Joseph (Tommy) Lapid,
Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council, spoke on behalf of the survivors.
He said simply, I was there.
out that the "People of Israel are One," he added,
All of us were there. All of us were in the Holocaust,
and he warned that anti-Semitism is rampant in Europe, Japan
and Muslim nations. He also exhorted the Jewish nation notto
"sit with hands folded while other people, such as
those in Darfur, are being threatened with mass extermination.
the ceremony in Jerusalem, six torches were lit by Holocaust
survivors. The first torch was lit by Zanne Farbstein; the second
torch by Mordechai (Motke) Wiesel, the third torch lit by Yaacov
(Jacki) Handeli, the fourth torch lit by David Gur; the fifth
torch by Miriam (Manya) Brodeski-Titelman and the sixth torch
was lit by Yaakov Janek Hollaender. During the ceremony,
short videos of the torchlighters testimonies were shown.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that Israel celebrates its 59th
independence day next week.
"The renewal of the Jewish people, its shaking off the
ashes of the Holocaust for a new life and national rebirth in
its historic birthplace, is the pinnacle of its victory,"
Israel Holocaust ceremony was broadcast live on Israel television
on Channels 1, 2, 10 and 33 and by Israel radio on Kol Israel
and Galei Zahal, and on www.yadvashem.org.
the Tel Aviv suburb of Ra'anana, hundreds took their seats and
witnessed another six holocaust survivors light torches in memory
of those who were hung, shot and gassed in Germany, Poland,
Russia, France, Belgium, Greece - throughout all of Western
the torches were lit a dark smoke rose up reminding many of
the large steel ovens which where never used to bake bread.
There was a reenactment of an early 1940's warm and colorful
Shabbat dinner attended by a dozen family members somewhere
in Nazi occupied Europe. The Jewish dinner was interrupted by
Nazi German police car sirens, deafening, terrifying knocks
on the door. Women, children and babies crying as the blast
of rifle shots penetrated the air. As the Holocaust players
took their roles, black and white slides were projected of real
people who once sat at their family tables 60 years ago, only
to quickly pack their bags and luggage for trucks and trains
which awaited to take them to concentration death camps.
Holocaust death camps bear the names: Auschwitz-Birkenau, Bergen-Belsen,
Buchenwald, Chemno, Dachau, Jasenovac, Sobibo'r and Treblinka.
the backdrop of these players and the very real black and white
images of children and babies forcibly being separated from
their parents was a potential and destructive boycott by the
Vatican to attend the Israel Holocaust ceremony in Jerusalem.
an open letter to Archbishop Antonio Franco in Old Jaffa from
Avner Shalev, Chairman of Yad Vashem, Shalev stated: "I
received your letter of April 3, 2007, in which you expressed
your intention of abstaining from the Opening Ceremony of Holocaust
Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day 2007, and was
sorry to hear of it, particularly as this day and events are
dedicated to the memory of the Holocaust and its victims. In
this respect I recall the words of His Holiness Pope John Paul
II during his visit to Yad Vashem about the importance of commemorating
the Holocaust: I have come to Yad Vashem to pay homage
to the millions of Jewish people who, stripped of everything,
especially of their human dignity were murdered in the Holocaust.
More than half a century has passed, but the memories remain.
We wish to remember. I regret that you chose to link the
commemoration of the Holocaust and its victims with this historical
was making reference to a photo caption of Pope Pius XII who
remained silent as millions of Jews perished in Europe.
at Yad Vashem we are mandated to research the history of the
Holocaust," said Shalev.
"The evaluation of the role of Pope Pius XII during the
Holocaust poses a challenge to those who wish to seriously confront
it. It is a complex issue, and we will continue to make sure
that we are firmly rooted in the most updated historical truth.
We would be pleased to examine any new documentation that may
come to light on this issue. As I mentioned previously, and
as you state in your letter, I too look forward to a fruitful
and constructive dialogue based on mutual understanding and
hours ago Franco reversed his decision and decided that he would
attend the Holocaust ceremony in Israel.
Earlier the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) had open and harsh
criticism for the Vatican calling the decision by the Vatican
ambassador to Israel to boycott the Holocaust memorial services
at Yad Vashem "inappropriate and insulting."
Anti-Defamation League (ADL)
repeated its long-standing call for the Vatican to open its
wartime archives so that the facts concerning the wartime actions
of Pope Pius XII may finally be brought to light.
Antonio Franco, the Vatican's ambassador to Israel, made the
unprecedented announcement that he would boycott the Israel
memorial events at Yad Vashem, Israel's national memorial to
the Holocaust, in protest of a photo caption in an exhibit that
seemingly charges Pope Pius XII with failing to save Jews during
we understand Archbishop Franco's displeasure about the photo
caption, his decision to boycott the entire Holocaust Memorial
Day ceremonies is unnecessarily insulting and unbecoming,"
said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust
survivor. "The photo caption may be inappropriate and too
judgmental, but it does not justify the Vatican's refusal to
participate in Israel's national observation of Holocaust Memorial
Foxman said the episode served as yet another reminder of the
need for the Vatican to declassify all archival materials covering
the period of the rise of the Third Reich in Germany and World
War II, "so that legitimate independent scholars and historians
can study and analyze them and help us to finally learn the
facts concerning Pope Pius XII and his actions vis-a`-vis Jews
during the Holocaust.
the public release and analysis of the Vatican's wartime archives,
the questions about Pope Pius XII will remain unresolved,"
said Mr. Foxman. "These records have special significance
for Holocaust survivors and their families. We strongly urge
the Vatican to make public access to the archives their highest
1998, the Vatican apologized to Jews on behalf of the entire
Roman Catholic community, for failing to speak out against the
Nazi holocaust during World War Two.
his letter accompanying the apology, Pope John Paul said the
holocaust remained an indelible stain on the 20th century. Cardinal
Edward Cassidy, Head of the Vatican Commission, says it is an
act of repentance.
The Head of the Vatican Commission, Cardinal Edward Cassidy,
said the Vatican's statement amounted to an act of repentance
as well as an apology.
document asks whether persecution was made easier because some
Christians held anti-Jewish prejudices.
it also declares that many people were unaware of Hitler's so-called
Pope John Paul has said he hopes the apology will help to heal
the wounds of past injustices and misunderstandings between
Christians and Jews. But the document made no criticism of the
Pope of the time, Pius XII, who has been accused by the Jews
of pro-German tendencies.
document fails to explain why Pope Pius never took sides during
World War Two by speaking out against the holocaust while it
was actually taking place. The Vatican has always maintained
he did everything he could behind the scenes to stop the slaughter.
the document, the Vatican asks all Christians to meditate upon
the catastrophe. The apology ends by warning that the seeds
of anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism must never again be allowed
to take root.
John Paul II dedicated much of his near 20-year-old papacy to
improving relations with Jews, whom he refers to as "older
brothers," after centuries of animosity.
another related Holocaust issue, the ADL, which had maintained
good relations with the Vatican, recently urged Pope Benedict
to help protect Jews from Iran, saying it and its president
were examples of a new "global malignancy" of anti-Semitism
that could bring another Holocaust.
Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League in the
United States, made his comments in an address to the Pope during
an audience at the Vatican.
hope you will declare the Church's commitment to do everything
in its power to prevent another Holocaust against the Jewish
people from any party of the globe, including Iran," Foxman
told the Pope. "In this generation arises a country's leader
who not only denies the Holocaust, the attempted genocide of
the Jewish people but again threatens to wipe out Israel, the
state of the Jewish people - the president of Iran," Foxman
told the Pope.
Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority said this
would mark the first time in which a foreign emissary deliberately
skipped the ceremony.
Vashem officials in Israel said over the weekend that it might
be worthwhile for the Vatican ambassador to do some soul-searching
over whether he wants to use the memory of the Holocaust and
its victims in this way.
Israel Foreign Ministry
said that, "The state ceremony at Yad Vashem is designed
to honor the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, the most
traumatic event in Jewish history and one of the most traumatic
events in human history. As for participation in the ceremony,
each person invited must act according to their own conscience."
for us Jews living and working in Israel, the Holocaust continues.
Israel's very existence today was the direct result of homes,
businesses and Beit Knesset's (temples) which were burnt to
the ground in Europe. Seeking a new life many Jews returned
to their historic and religious homeland - Israel.
our very existence has been and continues to be shaped by the
Whether it be the Vatican which fails to recognize the negligent
role of a Pope, Hezbollah Katusha rockets falling into Israel
from Lebanon, Hamas Qassam rockets slamming into the Negev from
Gaza or threats from Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia, we are a
people still fighting for our very survival.
year, Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a former Revolutionary
Guardsman, called Israel a "tumour" which must be
"wiped off the map", provoking a diplomatic storm
and stoking up fears about Iran's nuclear ambitions.
also aired his doubts about the veracity of the Holocaust, in
which six million Jews were killed by the Nazis. His comments
drew rebuke the world over, including from the Vatican at the
sadly, the profound evil of anti-Semitism has become a global
malignancy, emanating with vicious, violent, virulent force
from the Middle East and (from) fundamental Islam," Foxman
said in his speech.
November 30, 2006, US radio talk show host Mr. Imus and his
co-hosts referred to the "Jewish management at whoever
we work for, CBS" whom he later described as "money
grubbing bastards." That discussion resulted in a barrage
of phone calls, letters and e-mails to ADL from listeners and
December 2004, Mr. Imus referred to publishers of a new book
called "The Christmas Thief" as "thieving Jews."
Later on the same program, he attempted to apologize for that
remark by saying (of thieving Jews), "I apologize
I realize that's redundant."
in France anti-Semitism has reached new highs with Jews being
harassed, injured and murdered at football games, in restaurants
and on the streets. Today, one hears many French accents in
Israel as these people again leave Europe for the First and
Second Temple of Jerusalem.
England, the Union of Journalists voted to boycott Israel goods
as a result of what they perceived were Israel's "aggression"
against Lebanon. Not one word was spoken about the terror missiles
which were fired into Israel or the crossing of international
borders to kidnap Israel soldiers - these were the actions that
created Israel's defensive war.
on several journalist blogs condemned the England boycott of
Israel. One wanted to know why the union didn't boycott notorious
human rights abusers in Saudi Arabia or China.
member Tony Harnden, the Telegraph's Washington correspondent,
called the move "inane" and "insulting to the
intelligence," adding "this kind of thing is what
gives British trade unions their loony left image."
Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah in Hebrew)
is a national day of commemoration in Israel, on which the six
million Jews murdered in the Holocaust are memorialized. It
is a solemn day, beginning at sunset on the 27th of the month
of Nisan (Sunday evening, April 15, 2007) and ending the following
evening, according to the traditional Jewish custom of marking
of entertainment in Israel are closed and memorial ceremonies
are held throughout the country.
central ceremonies, in the evening and the following morning,
are held at Yad Vashem and are broadcast on the television.
The following morning, the Holocaust ceremony at Yad Vashem
begins with the sounding of an air raid siren for two minutes
throughout the entire country. For the duration of the sounding,
work is halted, people walking in the streets stop, cars pull
off to the side of the road and everybody stands at silent attention
in reverence to the victims of the Holocaust.
the focus of the ceremony at Yad Vashem is the laying of wreaths
at the foot of the six torches, by dignitaries and the representatives
of survivor groups and institutions. Other sites of remembrance
in Israel, such as the Ghetto Fighters' Kibbutz and Kibbutz
Yad Mordechai, also host memorial ceremonies, as do schools,
military bases, municipalities and places of work.
Dalia Itzik, Acting President of the State of Israel and Speaker
of the Knesset addressed the Jewish nation.
year, Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day
will be dedicated to witnesses and testimonies So that
the generations to come might know (Psalms 78, 6).
records and the testimonies have been collected from letters,
diaries and drawings and from scraps of paper hidden away during
the Shoah that recorded the terrible pain and suffering. The
survivors, the Sheerit HaPleta, felt a compelling need
to describe in prose and poetry what they had experienced during
those terrible years in Europe from a personal standpoint. These
testimonies and documents provide an invaluable insight into
those terrible years during which the Jewish People lost one
third of its number.
are two principal lessons to be learned from the history of
the Holocaust. The first is the vital need for a strong Jewish
state. As the founders of the State of Israel noted in the Declaration
of Independence, the Holocaust clearly proved the need to reestablish
the Jewish people in an independent state in their homeland.
Indeed, the State of Israel, which was established only 18 months
after the end of the Holocaust, is the best guarantee that the
Holocaust will never be repeated. In the new State of Israel
we raised up, together with the survivors, the fallen Sukkat
David [The Tabernacle of David] as prophesied by Amos, and established
a democratic Jewish State committed to human dignity and liberty.
This is the second lesson to be learned from the Holocaust.
We must provide everyone, whatever their race, religion or sex,
the protection of the state and fundamental human rights, and
must seek the total elimination of racism or anti-semitism in
whatever form throughout the world. All these principles are
an integral part of the basic ideology of the State of Israel.
we look back over what the Jewish state has achieved in its
fifty-nine years of existence, our hearts fill with pride. When
we review the path we have traveled, a path that has been paved
with wars and existential struggles ever since the Holocaust,
we can draw strength and encouragement and perhaps even a tiny
drop of comfort.
Yom Hashoah we shall remember, both in the State of Israel and
in Jewish communities throughout the world, that Unto
Every Person There Is a Name. We shall remember that many
of the victims died leaving no relative or friend to recall
is our national and our personal duty to remember every single
Yehi zichram baruch - May their memory be for a blessing and
may their memory continue for all eternity."
the weekly Israel government Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Prime
Minister Olmert referred to Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes
Remembrance Day events He said that the memory of the Holocaust
will be at the top of Israels agenda in the coming days
and added that the concern with remembering is not detached
from concern for the survivors who live among us.
the awful collective memory live survivors who carry in their
hearts harrowing personal memories and pain. It is the responsibility
of the state to see to it that those who survived the Holocaust
live in the
State of Israel with the proper respect."
Holocaust is not over for us living in Israel.
We fear terror missile attacks from Iran and Syria, we fear
terror bombing attacks in every restaurant, bus and shopping
center. But there is a difference today. At this hour thousands
of Israel Defense Force soldiers
are taking turns standing next to and guarding Holocaust memorial
flame on hundreds of IDF bases from the green Lebanon and Jordan
borders to the hot brown sands of Egypt.
in Israel will never again allow anyone, any nation to take
us silently onto railroad cattle cars to face systematic murder
As we continue to reach out in peace to our neighbors we remain
Every day, every hour, every minute.
We never forget.
Remembers Nazi Holocaust Hunter Simon Wiesenthal