As Yom Hashoah, the Jewish day of Holocaust remembrance, began last evening at sundown, world leaders marked the occasion with a series of commemorations, visits and addresses.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took part in a ceremony at Yad Vashem, the Jewish state’s Holocaust memorial, where six Shoah survivors lit six torches to represent the 6 million lost.
The event came on the same day that Netanyahu met with survivors at his office and passed new legislation in his cabinet to increase Holocaust survivor aid by $290 million.
“We have a moral obligation to see to it that Holocaust survivors living among us can live out their lives honorably,” Netanyahu said Sunday before the weekly Cabinet meeting.
Meanwhile, Israeli President Shimon Peres shared his own thoughts for the commemoration, saying, “The State of Israel of today is not only the only possible memorial standing for our perished brothers and sisters.”
“Israel is a deterrence against any attempt at another Holocaust. A strong Israel is our response to the horrors of anti-Semitism but it does not excuse the rest of the world from its responsibility to prevent this disease from returning to their own homes.”
And US President Barack Obama posted a special message on the White House’s official site, writing, “On this Yom HaShoah, I join people of all faiths in the United States, in the State of Israel, and around the world in remembering the six million Jews – innocent men, women and children – who were senselessly murdered during the Holocaust, as well as all the victims of Nazi brutality and violence.”
“Even as we mourn those whose lives were taken, this day also provides us with an opportunity to honor those who emerged from the darkness of the Shoah to rebuild their lives in new communities around the world. I am honored to have the opportunity to address survivors of the Holocaust, along with many of those who have worked so hard to preserve their testimony and share their stories, when I speak at the Shoah Foundation next week.”
“On this Yom HaShoah, let us recommit ourselves to the task of remembrance, and to always oppose anti-Semitism wherever it takes root. Together, we must give enduring meaning to the words ‘Never Again.’”