The majority of television stations were on a 24-hour break, shops closed early and Israelis stood in silence on Monday, honoring the victims of the Holocaust.
In Israel’s central ceremony at Yad Vashem on Sunday evening, Holocaust survivors gathered with their families as Knesset (parliament) members gave speeches. Acting President Dalia Itzik told participants that the Holocaust is a stain on humanity at the beginning of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“The Holocaust proved evil can be organized,” said Itzik. “The world needs to beware, and remember that the Nazis were human beings. The atrocities were created by people. The Holocaust is an "Ot Kain", a stain on humanity.”
“There are no words that can explain the horror of the Shoah. Only the testimonies, silent and spoken can attain to this atrocity,” Itzik said.
The central theme for this year's Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day was “Bearing Witness” and it is for the Jewish people to witness and testify.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also addressed those in attendance, reminding them of the importance of the remembrance of the Holocaust as it plays a pertinent role in the future of the existence of Israel.
"Sixty-two years have passed since the end of the most gruesome battles history has bared witness to,” said the prime minister. “Only on the day of Israel's independence did the Jews allow themselves to celebrate. In eight days we will be celebrating Israel's Independence Day. The correlation between this Remembrance Day, and the following celebrations is direct.”