The State of Israel marks its annual Holocast Remembrance Day on Thursday with ceremonies commemorating the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis during World War II.
The theme of this year’s memorial events is “The Anguish of Liberation and Return to Life,” focusing on the days after the defeat of the Nazis.
At 10 am local time Thursday morning, a two-minute siren blared all across Israel in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.
Immediately afterwards, a wreath laying ceremony was held at Yad Vashem, followed by the annual “Unto Every Person There is a Name” ceremony, during which names of those who perished in the Holocaust were read out at Yad Vashem.
A similar ceremony took place at the Knesset. President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein all took part in the Knesset’s name reading ceremony.
At 1 pm, the Central Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony, which is open to the public, will take place at Yad Vashem. Later in the afternoon, at 5:30 pm, memorials conducted by Israel’s youth movements will be held at Yad Vashem.
In Poland, the annual March of the Living will start at 2 pm local time, during which thousands from all over the world will march from Auschwitz to Birkenau to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day.
At 7 pm, a final service will be held at Kibbutz Yad Mordechai along with another ceremony to close the days events to be held at the Ghetto Fighters’ Museum at the Ghetto Fighters’ Kibbutz.
Events to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day started Wednesday evening at 8 pm with a ceremony at Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, attended by President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, Israel’s two Chief Rabbis David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef, among other dignitaries, as well as many Holocaust survivors and their families.
At the same time, another memorial ceremony was held at the Massuah Institute for Holocaust Studies at Kibbutz Tel Yitzhak, attended by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.