Everything and everyone in Israel comes to a halt for two minutes today, in commemoration of the millions lost during the Holocaust.
The official poster for Israel’s National Holocaust and Heroism Memorial Day.
Washington Post – JERUSALEM — The wail of air raid sirens sounded across Israel on Thursday, signaling the country to come to a standstill in tribute to 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust.
For two minutes, pedestrians stopped in their tracks and motorists stood next to their vehicles, heads bowed. In homes and businesses, people suspended their daily tasks to pay homage to victims of the Nazi genocide.
The day is one of the most solemn on Israel’s calendar. Restaurants and places of entertainment shut down, and radio and TV programming focuses on Holocaust documentaries and interviews with survivors.
Ceremonies were scheduled at schools and other public institutions, including the public reading of names of Holocaust victims at Israel’s parliament and other sites around the country.
At the opening state ceremony Wednesday night at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, Israeli leaders linked the Nazi genocide to Iran’s suspected drive to acquire nuclear arms and urged the world to stop it.
“Those who dismiss the Iranian threat as a whim or an exaggeration haven’t learned a thing from the Holocaust,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been criticized by some in Israel for making the linkage.
“To be deterred from telling the truth — that today, like then, there are those who want to destroy millions of Jews — that is disrespectful of the Holocaust,” he said. “That is an insult to its victims and that is ignoring its lessons.”
Here is what a busy Israeli highway looked like last year when the sirens sounded last year (h/t Elder of Ziyon)
I think this one was from today.
Here’s another one from today. This one is in Jerusalem at Machane Yehuda, Jerusalem’s outdoor market, off of Yafo St.
IAF jets flew over Auschwitz: A symbol of national strength
The pilot who participated in the 2003 flight over Auschwitz held in honor Holocaust victims and displaying national resilience, speaks of the experience
IDF – In 2003, the IAF organized a flight over the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps in Poland in tribute to those six million Jews who died in the Holocaust. Three F-15 planes participated in the flyover, taking six crewmembers whose relatives are survivors of the Holocaust.
“Two months before I heard about the flyover, my sisters suggested I travel with them to Poland on journey to discover our roots. I refused because I didn’t think that was the appropriate way to pay my respects to our ancestors. As soon as I heard about the flyover, I knew instantly that was the way I would take this journey,” said Brig. Gen. (res.) Avi Maor, a former commander of Ramon Airbase.
“I decided that this was the most appropriate way, because it represents the state of Israel and the Jewish people in a way that takes on a different meaning, not just ‘what was done to us,’ but a national strength, presenting Israel as being a strong country with a strong army,” said Gen. Maor.
“We rose from the ashes.”
I like this one even better.
Eisenhower, Patton, and Bradley at Auschwitz
On the morning of April 12th, 1945 General Eisenhower met Generals Bradley and Patton at Ohrdruf Concentration Camp. Afterwards Eisenhower also ordered every American soldier in the area who was not on the front lines to visit Ohrdruf and Buchenwald. He wanted them to see for themselves what they were fighting against. On Yom HaShoah their words are much more moving then anything I could say :
During the camp inspections with his top commanders Eisenhower said that the atrocities were “beyond the American mind to comprehend.” He ordered that every citizen of the town of Gotha personally tour the camp and, after having done so, the mayor and his wife went home and hanged themselves. Later on Ike wrote to Mamie, “I never dreamed that such cruelty, bestiality, and savagery could really exist in this world.” He cabled General Marshall to suggest that he come to Germany and see these camps for himself. He encouraged Marshall to bring Congressmen and journalists with him. It would be many months before the world would know the full scope of the Holocaust — many months before they knew that the Nazi murder apparatus that was being discovered at Buchenwald and dozens of other death camps had slaughtered millions of innocent people.
General Eisenhower understood that many people would be unable to comprehend the full scope of this horror. He also understood that any human deeds that were so utterly evil might eventually be challenged or even denied as being literally unbelievable. For these reasons he ordered that all the civilian news media and military combat camera units be required to visit the camps and record their observations in print, pictures and film. As he explained to General Marshall, “I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to ‘propaganda.’”
His prediction proved correct. When some groups, even today, attempt to deny that the Holocaust ever happened they must confront the massive official record, including both written evidence and thousands of pictures, that Eisenhower ordered to be assembled when he saw what the Nazis had done. Source
General Patton wrote the following in his diary after he toured the Camp:
It was the most appalling sight imaginable. In a shed . . . was a pile of about 40 completely naked human bodies in the last stages of emaciation. These bodies were lightly sprinkled with lime, not for the purposes of destroying them, but for the purpose of removing the stench.
When the shed was full–I presume its capacity to be about 200, the bodies were taken to a pit a mile from the camp where they were buried. The inmates claimed that 3,000 men, who had been either shot in the head or who had died of starvation, had been so buried since the 1st of January (Source)
General Omar Bradley said of the atrocities at Ohrdruf:
“The smell of death overwhelmed us even before we passed through the stockade. More than 3200 naked, emaciated bodies had been flung into shallow graves. Others lay in the streets where they had fallen. Lice crawled over the yellowed skin of their sharp, bony frames.”