update deskHolocaust & Holocaust Survivors

Yom Hashoah 2024

Israel readies for first post-Oct. 7 Holocaust Remembrance Day

The commemorations will begin with the lighting of memorial torches by six survivors of the German Nazi genocide at the official state ceremony in Jerusalem.

A Holocaust survivor and family member light a torch during a ceremony at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, as Israel marks Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 17, 2023. Photo by Erik Marmor/Flash90.
A Holocaust survivor and family member light a torch during a ceremony at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, as Israel marks Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 17, 2023. Photo by Erik Marmor/Flash90.

Six Holocaust survivors will light memorial torches at the official opening ceremony for Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah) at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem on the evening of May 5.

Lighting the torches that symbolize the 6 million Jews murdered by German Nazis will be Michael Bar-On (Poland), Raisa Brodsky (Ukraine), Arie Eitani (Hungary), Allegra Gutta (Libya), Pnina Hefer (Romania) and Izi Kabilio (Yugoslovia).

The ceremony will take place at 8 p.m. in Warsaw Ghetto Square at Israel’s official Holocaust museum and memorial site. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Isaac Herzog and other dignitaries will deliver remarks.

Holocaust survivor Yitzhak Perlmutter will recite the El Maleh Rahamim prayer for the souls of the martyrs.

It will be the first Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel since the Oct. 7 Hamas-led massacre in the northwestern Negev in which terrorists killed some 1,200 people, wounded thousands and kidnapped 250 others, in the worst single-day slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust.

The day is observed from sundown May 5 to sundown May 6. It comes a week before Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars and Victims of Terrorism (Yom Hazikaron) and Independence Day (Yom Ha’atzmaut).

In addition, the B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL-JNF) will hold a ceremony on May 6 to honor Jews who rescued fellow Jews during the Holocaust.

The event will be held at the B’nai B’rith Martyr’s Forest “Scroll of Fire” Plaza at 10 a.m. Israel time. The Forest of the Martyrs is the largest Holocaust memorial in the world, with 6 million trees planted on the western edge of the Jerusalem Forest near Moshav Beit Meir.⁩

During the ceremony, the “Jewish Rescuers Citation” will be conferred on 13 rescuers who operated in Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Italy and Poland.

Speakers in the ceremony will include Sergio Barbanti, ambassador of Italy to Israel, and a recorded message from Sarah Jackson, a Holocaust survivor who rescued young people from the Supernova music festival in southern Israel during the Hamas-led massacre on Oct. 7.

Also on May 6, at 10 a.m., an air-raid siren will sound across Israel to remember the 6 million victims of the Holocaust, followed by special activities at Yad Vashem, including a wreath-laying ceremony, recitation of the names of Holocaust victims, a memorial candle-lighting ceremony, a main ceremony and a youth ceremony.

In addition, at 4 p.m. on May 6, at the Government Press Office in Jerusalem, a briefing and panel discussion will take place featuring hostages freed from Gaza and families of hostages who will talk about the atrocities that have taken place there. The media will also receive an in-depth briefing about the sexual assaults on Oct. 7.

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