Israel Marks Holocaust Remembrance Day With Siren, Memorial Services

Theme of this year's commemoration is 'My Brother's Keeper - Jewish Solidarity During the Holocaust'; central ceremony Day taking place at the Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem.

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Haaretz
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Haaretz

Israelis across the nation paused in memory of the six million Jews killed during the Holocaust, as a siren sounded throughout Israel on Thursday morning.

The theme of this year's commemoration is "My Brother's Keeper - Jewish Solidarity during the Holocaust."

The central ceremony commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day was scheduled to take place at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.

The Holocaust Remembrance Day memorial service in Yad Vashem, April 19, 2012.Credit: Emil Salman

This year, Yad Vashem is continuing its Gathering the Fragments national campaign, launched in 2011 to collect documents, diaries, photographs, artwork and other privately-held artifacts from the Holocaust era so they can be documented and preserved for future generations.

Commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day began Wednesday night at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, in the presence of President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Six survivors of the Holocaust lit the torches representing the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

Netanyahu told the crowd gathered at Yad Vashem, "Our enemies tried to bury the Jewish future but our future was born again in the land of our forefathers, here we built a base, and a new beginning of freedom, and hope and action."

Netanyahu went on to say that today’s generation “faces calls to exterminate the Jewish State,” and that lessons of the past must not be forgotten. He focused on Iran, calling it an existential threat to Israel, and to world peace, said "It is the world’s responsibility to stop Iran securing nuclear weapons."

 The ceremonial laying of wreaths in Yad Vashem, April 19, 2012
President Shimon Peres lays a wreath at the ceremony at Yad Vashem, April 19, 2012
Wreathes being laid at the Yizkor Tent at Yad Vashem, April 19, 2012
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The ceremonial laying of wreaths in Yad Vashem, April 19, 2012Credit: Artium Degel
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President Shimon Peres lays a wreath at the ceremony at Yad Vashem, April 19, 2012Credit: Avi Ohayon / GPO
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Wreathes being laid at the Yizkor Tent at Yad Vashem, April 19, 2012Credit: Emil Salman
The Holocaust Remembrance Day memorial service in Yad Vashem

Netanyahu alluded to claims that he has associated the Iran threat with the Holocaust, “I completely reject this attitude,” he said. “To fear telling the truth, which is that there are those today who also seek to destroy millions of Jews, is to disrespect the Holocaust and insult its victims. The Prime Minister of Israel is not only allowed to conjure the memory of a third of our people when speaking of existential threats, it is his duty.”

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