Yom HaShoah V'Hagvurah, Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day, began Wednesday evening with a public ceremony at Warsaw Ghetto Square in Yad Vashem, Jerusalem. President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spoke, survivors lit six torches, the Chief Rabbis recited prayers, and Cantor Asher Heinowitz sang the El Malei Rachamim prayer.
The central theme of this year's commemorations is "Choose Life." Last year, it was "Bearing Witness." At 10 PM, a symposium was held on the topic of "Choose Life," with the participation of Holocaust survivors and Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev.
Playwright, David Mamet explains in the Huffington Post:
"Israel's Jews are no more the cause of Arab Fundamentalist rage than they were the cause of European Fascism. We, as always, are the miner's canary, singled out as, and the first victims of national or global unrest."
A remarkable, home-made, video-essay memorial to victims of Nazi persecution and Allied liberation.
(Courtesy DenLexx via YouTube)
A photo-essay from last year's Yom Ha Shoah, Holocaust Memorial Day from Israel National News.com
IDF Chief of Staff Gabriel Ashkenazi looks at the ovens used to burn Jews in Auschwitz. Ashkenazi's father was a Holocaust survivor; his mother a Jewish refugee from Syria.(Israel news photo: IDF Spokesman)
The Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum launched English and Arabic video channels on Tuesday, just two days before Jews around the world begin their annual commemorations of the Holocaust.
Yad Vashem, the world's largest repository of information on the Holocaust, launched two The Arabic channel has testimonies and archival footage about the Holocaust with Arabic subtitles.
News from Polish Radio World Service
Jews and Poles meet for 'March of the Living' 30.04.2008
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The crowd walks between two German Nazi concentration camps, the same way along which camp inmates marched to their death in the gas chambers back in the times of World War Two, continuees Aharon Tamir: 'We march from Auschwitz I as the "March of the Living" contrary to the "march of death" during the Holocaust. We come to Birkenau and over there we have a ceremony. We pray, we speak, we commemorate, we say Kaddish, we speak about the future. That's the idea. What we call this educational project is "From Holocaust to Revival" - from the Shoah to the new future and the new blessings for Israel and the world. We will continue with this as much as we can and we added last year a lot of non-Jews, especially Poles. In this march we will have close to two thousand Polish participants marching with us on the Holocaust Memorial Day.'
Several thousand Jews from all over the world, together with two thousand Poles, will take part in the annual March of the Living on the first of May to commemorate the memory of the victims of Holocaust.
"March of the Living" has been held annually since 1988 by the Israeli Education Ministry and the "March of the Living" organization. It takes place always ten days after the Jewish Pesach or Passover holiday. On this day, Jews all over the world hold prayer vigils commemorating the victims of the German Nazi Holocaust.
'We bring thousands of people, youngsters, adults, mainly Jewish, but there are a lot that are not Jewish, from all over the world - from about fifty five countries. They come to Poland to visit the Holocaust sites, what remains from the large and wonderful Jewish community that was here and perished during the Holocaust. They visit Polish sites, meet Polish youngsters. We believe that we also have to interact with Poland today. And then, after they visit all of Poland, we bring all of them to Auschwitz Birkenau on the Holocaust Memorial Day to march,' said Aharon Tamir, director general of the March of the Living events.