Communities worldwide commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Communities worldwide commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day; PM addresses Holocaust during ceremony held at Yad VaShem; Netanyahu and Trump discussed Iran and “the nature of this nuclear agreement and the danger it poses”

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Friday marks the International Holocaust Remembrance Day with Jewish communities worldwide commemorating the six million Jews killed during the Holocaust.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Day is commemorated on January 27, the day that Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated (in 1945) and the day in which the United Nations chose to be an international day of remembrance. The United Nations passed Resolution 60/7 in 2005, designating International Holocaust Remembrance Day as a global remembrance day of the Holocaust.

Israel holds its national Holocaust memorial, Yom HaShaoh, in April/May each year since 1953. Each year, two minutes of silence are given, each year sirens heard through out Israel, its population pausing and standing in silence. Ceremonies as well as educational programs are held through out the day in remembrance of the Holocaust, with testimonies and stories shared by Holocaust survivors.

There are currently close to 250,000 survivors living in Israel.

The United Nations held a ceremony on Friday, where speeches were given by Secretary- General Antonio Guterres, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon and an Israeli Holocaust survivor and journalist Noah Klieger.

Israel held a ceremony at its national Holocaust memorial museum, Yad Vashem on Thursday, Prime Minister Netanyahu addressing the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The Prime Minister began by stating, “Today the world observes International Holocaust Remembrance Day. We are fulfilling our obligation – to remember and not to forget. To remember that every victim had a story, a family, a childhood, and a future cut short. We will never forget the victims of the Holocaust and we will never allow another Holocaust to occur. May the memory of the victims of the Holocaust be a blessing and may they be rooted in our hearts forever.”

He stated “In a few short years, six million of our people were wiped away, literally incinerated. And the forces of evil had built an industry of mass murder. So, as we remember the victims, and this crime, we must never forget the roots of our greatest disaster – the insatiable hatred for the Jewish people. This hatred culminated in murder, but it began with intolerance. The Holocaust, thank God, is behind us, but the hatred and intolerance that drove it is not.”

Speaking of anti-Semitism, Netanyahu stated “anti-Semitism which is the world’s oldest hatred, is experiencing a revival in the enlightened West, you can see this in European capitals, just unbelievable. The rise of anti-Semitism, the resurgence of anti-Semitism that is happening, and few would have imagined that this would be possible a few years ago.” Speaking of the rise of global anti-Semitism, he stated “It’s true that governments have shown responsibility, and on the whole have taken this up, in Eastern Europe and in Western Europe alike. But it is also true that this hatred is bubbling, coming out of these cracks, coming out in the open again.”

Netanyahu then went on to speak about Iran as the current threat to the Jewish people, stating “Yet, as disturbing as this is, the greatest danger that we face, of the hatred for the Jewish people and the Jewish state, comes from the East. It comes from Iran. It comes from the ayatollah regime that is fanning these flames and calling outright for the destruction of the Jewish state.”

Netanyahu spoke of his recent conversation with United States President, in which both leaders spoke about Iran. Netanyahu stated that he spoke with Trump “about the Iranian aggression. He [Trump] spoke about Iran’s commitment to destroy Israel. He spoke about the nature of this nuclear agreement and the danger it poses. We spoke about it together.”

He went on to speak of his duty as Israel’s Prime Minister, and his commitment to not remain silent on the Holocaust, stating “As Prime Minister of Israel, I will not be silent, I haven’t been silent, and we don’t intend to be inactive either. We don’t merely intend to speak out but we will take all the measures we need to defend ourselves, and we will take all the measures necessary to prevent Iran from getting the means of mass murder to carry out their horrible plans… We cannot and will not be silent in the face of Iran’s stated aim of destroying Israel. But we also know that the issue is not merely the Jewish state or the Jewish people. Because we’ve seen that this hatred, when it goes unchecked, spreads around the world, and in fact, in many ways, that is what is happening.”

He called on the “forces of civilization”, referring the global community, to unite and end Iran’s threat against the Jewish state. He stated “So it’s up to the forces of civilization, the forces of conscience, the forces of responsibility to join together to stop this process. The regime that spawned the Holocaust ended up in the dustbin of history. That’s a lesson for Iran. It’s a lesson to every enemy of the Jewish people and the Jewish state.

Finishing his address, he stated “I take comfort in a lot of foreign leaders who have come to this place, to Yad Vashem. We go through the halls, we see the exhibits; they’re visibly shaken. And when we come out, I say to that leader or whoever it would be, I say, you know, as Prime Minister of Israel I have one job: to make sure that we will never need more institutions like Yad Vashem. And that’s what we all have to be committed for.”