Israel Marks Holocaust Remembrance Day in Yad Vashem Ceremony

The theme of this year's commemoration is 'Fragments of Memory: The Faces Behind the Documents, Artifacts and Photographs.'

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

The state-sponsored commemorations marking the beginning of Holocaust Remembrance Day opened on Sunday at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.

President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are both attending the ceremony, with Peres' speech opening the event.

A musician playing in front of the Warsaw Ghetto Heroes Memorial during a ceremony marking Holocaust Remembrance Day.Credit: AP

The theme of this year's commemoration is "Fragments of Memory: The Faces Behind the Documents, Artifacts and Photographs."

On Monday at 10 A.M. a siren will sound throughout the country, at which time the population will pause and stand in memory of those killed during the Holocaust.

Israel's observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day lasts until Monday sundown.

Ahead of this year's Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yad Vashem announced it was launching a nationwide effort to collect documents, diaries, photographs, artwork and other items from the time of the Holocaust in the possession of individuals, so that they can be documented and preserved for future generations.

The Holocaust authority is also launching a virtual memorial wall on Facebook, which will allow visitors to post the names of those who perished in the Holocaust.

The victims' names will then link to any information about them in the Yad Vashem database. The four millionth name, of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, was added to the database several months ago.

The names have been provided over the years based on testimony provided by victims' friends and relatives, through wartime records, and from other sources, such as memorial walls in synagogues. The efforts to complete the list are ongoing.

One of the six Holocaust survivors who will light the torches at this evening's ceremony at Yad Vashem, symbolizing the six million Jews who perished, is Yona (Janek ) Fuchs. Originally from Lwow, Poland (in what is now Ukraine), he managed to save many other Jews in addition to remaining alive himself.

Posing as a German soldier by using a certificate that he found, Fuchs was able to get 20 Jews from Lwow to Kiev, including his brother and father. In a sad and ironic twist of fate, all of them except his brother and father survived the war. Fuchs managed to make it to Palestine in 1944. He now lives in Haifa and has three children and 14 grandchildren.

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