At 10 AM, local time, millions of Israelis stood at attention to the sound of a two-minute siren that was sounded throughout the land.
The sirens were followed by a wreath laying ceremony at the foot of the monument to the Warsaw ghetto uprising, at the Yad Vashem museum in Jerusalem.
At noon, the March of the Living will begin in Poland, from the death camp in Auschwitz to the death camp in Birkenau.
The day’s memorial events will be concluded with ceremonies in two Israeli communities that were settled by Holocaust survivors, Kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot (Warriors of the Ghettos) and Kibbutz Yad Mordechai (named after Mordechai Anielewicz, commander of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising).
On Sunday night, President Rivlin addressed the opening ceremony of Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem, saying, “Holocaust remembrance and the lessons to be learned are founded on three central pillars: We shall always undertake our own defense; the shared common Jewish destiny; and beloved is man for he was created in God’s image.”
“The Shoah has always been, and will always be a program of annihilation that was planned and implemented against the Jewish People,” Rivlin said. There has been no previous historical event like this: extermination divorced from any [political] conflict, divorced from territorial issues, or from a struggle for dominance.”
The President also said, “The Shoah is permanently branded in our flesh. Each of us has a number on our arm. Nevertheless, the Shoah is not the lens through which we should examine our past and our future.”