In somber fashion, Israel marks Holocaust Remembrance Day

A ceremony held at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem, as Israel marks annual Holocaust Remembrance Day. April 23, 2017. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israelis stood this morning in commemoration of the Holocaust as sirens sounded throughout the country for two minutes, a time to remember the 6 million who perished during the genocide of the Jewish people during World War II.

Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, began last evening at sundown. Considered an official day of mourning, the day is marked with solemnity. Restaurants, stores and entertainment venues closed early on Wednesday while Israeli television ceased to broadcast except to air Holocaust documentaries and the official state ceremony which took place at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.

When the sirens began this morning at 10 a.m. life stood still across the Jewish state. People paused to stand in silence including motorists who stopped and stepped out of their vehicles, standing with heads bowed.

Israelis take this somber day seriously. The motto “never forget” drives events held across the country even in schools for children as young as pre-school age. Facts about the Holocaust, perpetrated by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis in Germany, are fast fading from basic public knowledge abroad. According to a survey, 31 percent of Americans and 41 percent of millennials, believe that only 2 million Jews or fewer were killed in the Holocaust. A shocking 66 percent of millennials do not know what Auschwitz was and a mere 39 percent of Americans realize that Hitler was a democratically elected politician, the survey by Claims Conference showed.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is held on Jan. 27, the date marking the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1945. Israel opted to mark the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising on the Jewish calendar date of Nisan 27, which usually falls in April or May.

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