Israel on Thursday was the scene of solemn silence and piercing cries as every man, woman and child remembered the Holocaust, the most devious and the most successful attempt in history to destroy the Jewish people.
No matter how many times one hears it, the emotions stirred by the nation-wide siren blast at 10 AM on the morning of Holocaust Victims and Heroes Remembrance Day never diminish. It is humbling, and heartbreaking, to realize that at that exact moment, six million fellow Israelis are all standing together in tear-inducing silence in honor of six million European Jews whose lives were mercilessly snuffed out.
In Auschwitz, Poland a group of hundreds of Israelis and Diaspora Jews, including 50 Israeli soldiers, marched through the preserved remains of the largest of the Nazi death camps, as a squad of Israeli F15s roared overhead, a symbol that despite the best efforts of history's most notorious villains, the people of Israel not only live, but are stronger than ever.
Back in Israel, the nation's leaders presided over memorial ceremonies, insisting that such an atrocity would never again befall the Jewish people so long as there was a Jewish state to defend them.
But in the back of everyone's minds is the growing concern that in less than a generation from now, the Holocaust will be redefined by Israel's antagonists, if not forgotten completely.
Already today, foes like Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Palestinian Authority's Mahmoud Abbas and British author David Irving deny that the Holocaust ever happened, or try to paint it as a Jewish conspiracy. It is difficult for these revisionists to gain much mindshare at present as there are still Holocaust survivors living among us. But what happens when the last of those poor souls to personally experience the Nazis' "Final Solution" is laid to rest?
When there are no more Holocaust survivors left, and one of the blackest chapters in human history is no longer a living memory, will any nation besides Israel continue to remember it for what it was? Will any nation besides Israel continue to believe that the spirit behind that horrific act of genocide remains active in the world today?