Two minutes of silence across nations sound importance of Holocaust Remembrance March
Sirens wailed for two minutes across continents as millions joined in a moment of silence during the shrill wailing to remember the six million Jews who died during the Holocaust and the world watched as Presidents from several countries stood together in a day of remembrance. Fewer and fewer survivors from the Holocaust are still living making it imperative that nations remember the horror inflicted on Jews during World War II.
The presidents of Israel and Poland joined thousands of others Thursday for a Holocaust remembrance event at the former Nazi death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau, hoping to put recent tensions behind them.
Presidents Reuven Rivlin of Israel and Andrzej Duda of Poland lit candles, bowed their heads and pressed their hands on the Death Wall, a site at Auschwitz where inmates, chiefly Polish resistance fighters, were executed by Nazi German forces during World War II.
In Jerusalem, Israelis stood still for a full two minutes on Thursday for a nationwide moment of silence in remembrance of the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, as a two-minute siren wailed across the country and the nation paid respects to those systematically killed by Nazi Germany and its collaborators in World War II.
As every year on Holocaust Remembrance Day, buses and cars halted on streets and highways and Israelis stepped out of their vehicles, standing with heads bowed in solemn remembrance, however, there are those who worry that the horror of the Holocaust is fading from the memories of the living as those who directly experienced the genocide.
“Never forget,” has been the rallying cry for seven decades of the Holocaust Remembrance Movement, but a survey released on Thursday by the Claims Conference, found a significant loss of basic knowledge about the Holocaust in the United States, especially in the demographic of Millennials. “Only 51% of Millennieals could name one of the 40,000 camps or ghettos that were formed during the Holocaust… even though the majority of the Americans surveyed believed that something as tragic a the Holocaust could happen again.”
A third of the world’s Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. Israel was established afterward in 1948, and hundreds of thousands of survivors fled to the Jewish state.On Wednesday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at a Holocaust memorial ceremony at Yad Vashem and warned that archenemy Iran should not test Israel amid rising tensions in Syria.
At Birkenau, the leaders paid tribute to the immense suffering that Germany inflicted both on Jews and Poles.
Nazi Germany killed some 1.1 million people in the Auschwitz and Birkenau camps. The victims were mostly Jews, but also included Poles, Roma and Soviet POWs.
“The issue is not that people deny the Holocaust; the issue is just that it is receding from the memory,’ said Greg Schneider, executive president of the Claims Conference which negotiates restitution for Holocaust victims and their heirs. “People may not know the details themselves, but they still think it is important.”
We as a community must continue to say,”never forget.” for those we that should never be forgotten.