Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembered in Jerusalem

Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembered in Jerusalem

They tried to kill us. We are here.

The official Opening Ceremony for Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day took place on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, in Warsaw Ghetto Square of Yad Vashem, on Mount of Remembrance, near Har Herzl in Jerusalem, Israel. 

Holocaust Memorial IDF honor guard

The IDF honor guard posed for photographers before the ceremony.

Two women greeting at ceremony for Yom Hahsoah

For the invited guests it is a time to see and greet long time friends.

Group of German journalists for Holocaust Remembrance Day in Jerusalem Israel

This year a group of German journalists attended.

Holocaust memorial Israeli President Rivlin first speaker

After dark, the Israeli flag was lowered to half mast, and a ceremonial flame was lit.

Israeli President Rivlin at yad Vashem

President Reuven Rivlin was the first speaker.

Israeli Prime Minister at Yom Hashoan

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke next.

There were musical interludes, and dramatic readings.

Six torches lit by survivors at Yad Vashem for Yom Hashoah

Before each one of the six survivors lit their torch, a short video about their lives was screened.

Each flame represents one million lost souls, murdered in Holocaust.

Honor guard at Holocaust Remembrance Day opening ceremony at Yad Vashem

Meanwhile, the honor guard stood at attention the entire time.

Netanyahu greeting honor guard

As last year, the Prime Minister went to shake hands with the soldiers in the honor guard.

Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at Yad Vashem head of IDF speaking with Sara Netanyahu

As last year, while the event was being televised, movement was restricted. (Ok, I thought it was much better this year, maybe because there were fewer foreign photographers?) But as soon as the official program was over, I was able to go up front and take this photo. The honor guard was still at attention, but the rest of us were talking and heading home.

At Yad Vashem, the crowd stood still for HaTikvah.

HaTikvah, The Hope, takes on greater meaning when remembering the past.

The Jerusalem Municipality also marked Holocaust Remembrance Day with a ceremony held in Kikar Safra, Safra Square, the mayor of Jerusalem, Moshe Lion, city council members, survivors, attended the event, which was open to the public. This year the ceremonies were under the theme “War Within a War – the struggle for survival of Jews in the Holocaust.”

Zichron B’Salon, Memories in Living Room, hosted dozens of smaller, parlor meetings in Jerusalem on Holocaust Remembrance Day. In private homes throughout the city of Jerusalem survivors retold their stories in these more intimate groups and settings. President Reuven Rivlin hosted a group in Beit Hanasi on Sunday morning as he has done for the past several years.

Restaurants and entertainment venues were closed at night.

The next morning on May 2, a memorial siren sounded at 10:00 am.

A wreath laying ceremony was held at Yad Vashem.

Organizations, communities, schools, and businesses held programs, with survivors speaking.

The Knesset had a special recitation of names of Nazi victims.

Israel memorial day flame on Jerusalem synagogue

Flags on public buildings flew at half-mast and memorial flames were displayed.

Child survivors are aging.  We cannot change the past. Now that they have grandchildren and great-grandchildren, they are celebrating.  The grandchildren and great-grandchildren are the future.  “This is our revenge,” I have heard over and over. They are celebrating life. We are here.

Light a torch at Yad Vashem for Yom HaShoah

So many stories. So many memories of tragedies and miracles.

Six million murdered by Nazis is too hard to comprehend.

Where were the civilized countries? Canada. British in Palestine. The United States.

All turned their backs.

To conclude, one memory, from one friend from Kristalnacht, the night the world turned dark.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

The UN International Holocaust Remembrance Day is January 27th.

The annual commemoration is held on the day Auschwitz was liberated.

Auschwitz 2001 view outside

This photograph was taken on March of Living trip in 2001 to Poland.

Memorial in Poland for Shoah

From around the world, thousands of young people came to learn and remember.

Poland Holocaust memorial

Communities wiped out. Six million remembered by stone memorials.

Today in Jerusalem, President Rivlin said, “There can never be forgiveness for the crimes of the Nazis against the Jewish people. There can never be forgiveness for the terror and suffering of Jewish children during the dark years of the Second World War. But there can be reconciliation between the German people and the Jewish people today…Reconciliation must be based on truth. As the Holocaust fades from living memory, we must all work together to keep the memory alive.”

Display Yad Vashem children exhibit

In Jerusalem, Yad Vashem is trying to give names and faces to the victims.

Dolls from Holocaust on exhibit at Yad Vashem

Donated dolls are displayed in children’s memorial room which is dedicated to the one million Jewish children murdered.

Yad Vashem Yom Hashoah 5778

The national Israeli Holocaust Memorial Day, called Yom HaShoah, is in the spring.

It begins with a televised ceremony at Yad Vashem at night.

IDF honor guard at Yad Vashem for Yom HaShoah

An Israeli Defense Force honor guard is an annual feature.

Romania Lions supporting Ten Commandments

Artifacts from destroyed Eastern European synagogues are displayed in the Yad Vashem synagogue.

Romanian Aron Kodesh

Lights that were crushed out in Europe, shine today as a memorial in Jerusalem.

Israel’s Minister of Diaspora Affairs, Naftali Bennett presented the 2018 Global Antisemitism Report with details of worldwide trends, and highlights key initiatives of the Ministry to combat and monitor antisemitism. Unlike previous years, antisemitic violence in 2018 was led by neo-Nazis and white supremacists.  The Holocaust memorial at the Jewish cemetery of Salonika in Greece was violated a second time, this time by neo-Nazis.

 “The State of Israel is a strong and secure country…The year 2018 saw record highs of antisemitism in the streets, online, and in the political arena, around the world. It is a year that saw the highest number of Jews murdered in antisemitic attacks since the 1990s (bombing in Argentina), in three separate attacks. The Ministry of Diaspora Affairs will continue to work to build bridges with Jews around the world, and to eradicate antisemitism through legal, diplomatic and public diplomacy channels.”

Yesterday, on Shabbat, it felt like spring and Jerusalem, Israel was at its best.

The streets were filled with people enjoying the sunshine.

The parks were filled with families and children at play.

The Nazis failed.

#WeRemember

#NeverAgain

The memorial prayer El Maleh Rahamim:

Shabbat Shalom & Happy Hanukkah

On Friday night, lighting Hanukkah candles

can sometimes be a challenge,

rushing to get all the preparations done on time

before the sun sets and Shabbat begins.

One iconic photo is illuminated in Yad Vashem

shows a family’s menorah in the window

with a Nazi flag hanging on the building in the background across the street.

Yad Vashem has original chanukia from Jewish family in window with Nazi flag

That menorah is in the display case for all to see.

The family members who survived brought it to Israel,

and its candles shine brightly throughout the nights of Hanukkah.

This week as missiles were launched against Sderot,

young men from the Sderot Yeshiva were dancing

in Jerusalem, Israel, at a friend’s wedding.

One of the songs the band played was

Al HaNissim

On the miracles over the centuries,

good has triumphed over evil.

שבת שלום

Shabbat Shalom

חנוכה שמח

Happy Hanukkah