Israel Brief April 19, 2012: Scenes from Yom Hashoah 2012



Scenes from Yom Hashoah 2012

Source: JTA, 4-20-12


Berliners participating in an interfaith Holocaust remembrance event polish the bronze Stumbling Block memorials that bear testimony to the deportation of Jews from the city in 1942. Polishing the plaque of Harriet Freifrau von Campe are, from left, Dalia Grinfeld, Amina Kamed, Kewin Jessa and Sertac Heris — all members of the JUGA interfaith group. The Central Council of Jews in Germany was among the organizations sponsoring the ceremony. (Toby Axelrod)

Yehuda Vidavski lights a memorial flame at the opening ceremony for Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, April 18, 2012 (Noam Moskowitz/flash90)

Israelis in Jerusalem pause during a two-minute siren in memory of victims of the Holocaust, April 19, 2012. (Avishag Shar/Yashuv/Flash90)

Full Text Israel Political Brief April 19, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Statement on Yom HaShoah / Holocaust Remembrance Day




Obama pays tribute to Holocaust victims on Remembrance Day: President Barack Obama paid tribute to victims of the Holocaust on Thursday, saying that “on this day, and all days, we must do more than remember. We must resolve that “never again” is more than an empty slogan…. – JPost, 4-19-12

  • Obama issues statement honoring Holocaust Remembrance Day: President Barack Obama released a statement on Thursday honoring the Jewish day of remembrance Yom HaShoah. Hebrew for “destruction,” the word “shoah” is often used in reference to the Holocaust, and Yom HaShoah is the day on the Jewish calendar … – CNN, 4-19-12
  • Obama: ‘Never again’ more than empty slogan: US President Barack Obama joined millions across the globe in commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day. On Thursday the White House published a statement in which the president said “On this Holocaust Remembrance Day, I join people of all…. – Ynet News, 4-19-12


Statement by the President on Yom HaShoah

On this Holocaust Remembrance Day, I join people of all faiths across the United States, in Israel and around the world in paying tribute to all who suffered in the Shoah—a horrific crime without parallel in human history.  We honor the memory of six million innocent men, women and children who were sent to their deaths simply because of their Jewish faith.  We stand in awe of those who fought back, in the ghettos and in the camps, against overwhelming odds.  And in the year of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Raoul Wallenberg, we are humbled by the rescuers who refused to be bystanders to evil.

On this day, and all days, we must do more than remember.  We must resolve that “never again” is more than an empty slogan.  As individuals, we must guard against indifference in our hearts and recognize ourselves in our fellow human beings.  As societies, we must stand against ignorance and anti-Semitism, including those who try to deny the Holocaust.  As nations, we must do everything we can to prevent and end atrocities in our time.  This is the work I will advance when I join survivors and their families at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on Monday.  This must be the work of us all, as nations and peoples who cherish the dignity of every human being.

Full Text Israel Political Brief April 19, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu;s Speech on Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day at the “Unto Every Person There is a Name” Yom HaShoah Ceremony at the Knesset



PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the “Unto Every Person There is a Name” Ceremony at the Knesset

Source: PMO, 4-19-12

Photo by GPO

The following is from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks today on the occasion of Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, at the Knesset, during the “Unto Every Person There is a Name” ceremony:

“This is the first ‘Unto Every Person There is a Name’ ceremony in which my father-in-law, Shmuel Ben-Artzi, is not listening to the reading of the names.  He passed away last November.  He used to listen to the reading of the names.  He thought that this was the way to give expression to the souls that were lost.  He saw the loss as both a personal and national thing, the dimensions of which can scarcely be described.

He came to the country when he was 18, from the town of Bilgoraj in Poland, despite the strong opposition of his father.  He was sent as an outstanding student of the Novardok yeshiva in order to open a branch here in Bnei Brak.  He soon went to the orchards and decided that he had to redeem the soil of the Land of Israel; he worked in the orchards for seven years.  Afterwards, he became a teacher in Tiberias.  He was a great teacher, a leading educator.  He held a Bible study class for adults for 30 years, for the same people for 30 years.

He was a major Bible researcher but he was also a poet.  In his poetry, he expressed the love for the Land of Israel, for the [Jewish] People, for people and for nature.  But above all, in his poetry, he expressed his pain, personal and national, over the Holocaust.

His family was destroyed.  I will read their names:

His father, Moshe Hahn, his father’s wife Ita, his twin sister Yehudit, who was 24.

His brothers Meir Hahn (18), Shimon Tzvi (16) and Aryeh Leib (13), and his little sister Feizele.

His aunt Ma’tel Koenigstein, her son Hillel and her eldest daughter.  His uncle Mendel, his wife and their two children.

His uncle Avraham Tauber, his wife and their son and daughter.  His aunt Rachel Tauber and her three sons – Avraham, Yaakov and Shlomo, and their wives and children.  His aunt Hinda and her husband Yehezkel.  His aunt Hendel, her husband and their children.  His aunt Paula and her two daughters.

May their memories be blessed.”

דברי ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו בטקס “לכל איש יש שם” בכנסת

יום חמישי כ”ז ניסן תשע”בזוהי הפעם הראשונה בטקס הזה ‘לכל איש יש שם’ שחמי, שמואל בן ארצי, אינו מקשיב להקראת השמות. הוא נפטר לפני חודשיים אחדים. הוא נהג להקשיב לקריאת השמות, אפילו להיגוי, הוא
חשב שזאת הדרך לתת ביטוי לנשמות שהלכו לאיבוד. הוא ראה את האובדן כדבר אישי ולאומי במימדים שקשה לתאר.

הוא עלה לארץ בגיל 18 מהעירייה בילגוראיי בפולין חרף התנגדותו העזה של אביו. הוא נשלח כעילוי על ידי ישיבת נוברדאו לפתוח סניף כאן בבני ברק. מהר מאוד הוא הגיע לפרדסים והחליט שעליו לגאול את אדמת ארץ ישראל, ולכן הוא עבד 7 שנים בפרדס. לאחר מכן הפך למורה בטבריה. הוא היה מורה גדול, מחנך דגול. הוא קיים חוג ללימוד תנ”ך של מבוגרים במשך 30 שנה, 30 שנה אותם אנשים.

הוא היה חוקר תנ”ך גדול, אבל הוא גם היה משורר. בשירתו ביטא את אהבת הארץ ואהבת העם ואהבת האדם ואהבת הטבע שלו, אבל מעל הכל הוא ביטא בשיריו את הכאב שלו, האישי והלאומי על השואה. אני מבקש להקריא לכם אחד משיריו שנקרא ‘חלום לזכר עיירתי בילגוראיי’.

“לזכר עיירתי בילגוראיי,
הלילה הייתי בעיירת מולדת,
בנוף שיקר ללבי בהילו.
בבאר ילדותי בבואה עוד רועדת,
בית אבא עדיין עומד על תילו.

בעצי ערמונים משתלהב כבר האודם,
טבעו של הסתיו בפולין הוא בכך.
אני ואחי משתרכים כמקודם,
בשביל סוכתנו נושאים אנו סכך.

הרוח רודפת ענן ברקיע,
הערב הגשם לבוא לא יהין.
עוד רגע ואנו הביתה נגיע,
מיד נקשט סוכתנו כדין.

קרבנו לבית, גויים בקננו,
לשווא עוד חיפשתי סוכת השלום.
אחי את עומסו לי השאיר – ואיננו.
לבד שם בכיתי עד סוף החלום”.

הסוכה נחרבה, הבית הושמד, בני המשפחה – כולם נרצחו, ואקריא את שמותיהם:

אביו משה הון, אשתו של אביו, איטה הון אחותו התאומה של חמי, יהודית בת משה הון, בת 24.

האחים מאיר הון, בן 18, שמעון-צבי הון, בן 16, אריה לייב הון, בן 13, ואחותו הקטנה פייזלה הון, בת 10.

דודתו מאטל קניגשטיין ובנה הלל בן יחזקאל ובתו הבכורה, והדוד מנדל הון, אשתו ושני ילדיהם.

הדוד אברהם טאובר, אשתו, בתו ובנו, הדודה רחל טאובר ושלושת בניה – אברהם, יעקב ושלמה, נשותיהם וילדיהם. הדודה הינדה ובעלה יחזקאל. הדודה הנדל, בעלה וילדיהם. הדודה פאלה ושתי בנותיה.

יהי זכרם ברוך

Israel Political Brief April 19, 2012: US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Honors Holocaust Victims at the Pentagon Ceremony



Panetta Honors Holocaust Victims at the Pentagon

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, attend ceremony in honor of Yom Hashoah at the Pentagon.

Barak and Panetta at Yom Hashoah ceremony

Barak and Panetta at Yom Hashoah ceremony

The Pentagon held a ceremony on Thursday in honor of Yom Hashoah, the Holocaust Remembrance Day. The ceremony was attended by U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

“Today we pause to remember and honor 6 million souls who were murdered not because of anything they had done, but because of who they were,” Panetta said during the ceremony, according to a statement released by the U.S. Department of Defense.

He said he helped to establish Yom Hashoah as a U.S. observance while serving in the House of Representatives in 1980. He added that the day is He nHe aHis uiisalso an occasion to remember survivors of the Holocaust.

“They bore witness to evil and to tragedy, and in their strength we all find inspiration – inspiration to fight against the intolerance and indifference that allowed all of this to happen,” said Panetta.

The program included an appearance by guest speaker Charlotte Schiff, the sole member of her family who survived the Holocaust. Panetta said Schiff has dedicated her life to making sure those who perished in the Holocaust are never forgotten.

“It is our honor to affirm to you that we will never stop fighting in the memory of those who perished – fighting for a better future, [and] fighting for a world safe from aggression, from tyranny and from injustice,” he told Schiff.

Panetta added that Yom Hashoah is also a day to celebrate the Jewish people “who overcame this tragedy and built a strong and vibrant Jewish state in Israel.”…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief April 19, 2012: Israel Ambassador to US Michael Oren’s Speech at Holocaust Days of Remembrance ceremony in US Capitol Rotunda



Remarks on Yom HaShoah, Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day
U.S. Capitol Rotunda

April 19, 2012

Source: Israel Embassy US, 4-18-12

The legacy of the Holocaust endows us with a double duty. First, we must not allow the memory of the six million to be trivialized. Human history is rife with atrocities, massacres, and wars, but nothing be equated with the enormity of the Holocaust. It is profoundly, unbearably,unique. But, paradoxically, our second duty is to prevent another Holocaust from occurring.

Imagine if one third of the Jewish people had not been annihilated. Imagine the doctors, the researchers, and the artists. Imagine the grandchildren and great-grandchildren flourishing throughout the world today. That is what we mean when we pledge ‘Never Again.’

Yes, we must cherish the fact that we live in a time when there is a proud and sovereign Jewish state. We must appreciate that state’s remarkable accomplishments in science, technology, and the arts. And we must value the historic alliance between Israel and the United States. Things are indeed different than they were eighty years ago.

Yet, at the same time, we must also acknowledge that evil did not appear suddenly in the 1930s and depart in 1945, never to return again. We must admit that the genocidal hatred of Jews that burned during those years remains a fierce andre-combustible scourge. We cannot ignore the similarities between the conditions that fostered the Holocaust and those we nowwitness daily.

Consider this: Eighty years ago, the world was scarcely in the mood for confrontation. People were weary from the devastating losses of a recent war. Economies were in crisis. Unemployment was high, foreclosures commonplace.  People were focusing inward, grappling with their own problems.

Meanwhile, a radical militant movement dreamt of regional and global domination. Headed by a Supreme Leader, the movement burnt books and crushed its democratic opponents. It amassed vast arsenals of advanced weaponry and invaded neighboring countries. The radicals played on their nation’s injured pride and stressed its racial superiority. The movement denigrated the Jewish people as a cancer that had to be cut out.

Today, too, there is such a radical regime in Iran. It also has a Supreme Leader. It also butchers its democratic opponents, supports terror,and seeks regional and global hegemony. The Iranian regime similarly espouses racism. It denies the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis while pledging to murder another six million—in Israel. And to achieve its abominable goals, Iran is developingmilitary nuclear capabilities and the missiles to deliver them.

Fortunately, today is not eighty years ago. Though tired of war and wrestling with economic difficulties, the United States is not watching passively. On the contrary, the White House and the Congress are leading the world in imposing harsh sanctions on Iran.

President Obama has said that the United States will not contain a nuclear-armed Iranand keeps all options on the table. And Israel, the President said, has the right to defend itself against any Middle Eastern threat.  Only Israel can decide how best to protect its citizens.

We must never equate the Holocaust with any other event but we also must never let it recur. Equipped with nuclear arms, Iran could blackmail the world—overrunning its major oilsources and endangering the lives of millions. We must not compare the Holocaust to any other situation but, at the same time, we cannot forget. We now have the opportunity—indeed, the duty—to confront Iranian leaders with the unambiguous choice never posed to the Nazis. The Iranian regime can either abandon its military nuclear program or face truly crippling sanctions and a credible military threat.

We have a dual duty and the theme of this year’s Days of Remembrance–the stories of rescuers–reminds us of that obligation. These inspiring stories are immortalized at Yad Veshem, Israel’s national Holocaust memorial and research center, which for fifty years has honored those righteous Gentiles who risked their lives–and often their families’ lives— to save Jews.  Those heroes understood with all their souls the horrific uniqueness of the Holocaust.

So, too, do the survivors and World War II veterans who knew first- hand the horrors of Nazism. My father, who is present in the Rotunda today, was one of those GIs. He battled from Normandy to the Bulge to the final victory, winning two bronze stars for valor. Not only as your son, but as Israel’s ambassador to this great nation, I want to say thank you, Dad, and thank you to all the brave Americans who fought alongside you.

Rescuers, survivors and veterans—their mere presence warns us against equating the Holocaust with any other atrocity. Yet, they urge us to prevent the Holocaust’s recurrence. They remind us to be vigilant, they tell us to stand strong. And they exhort us, always, to remember.

Israel Brief April 19, 2012: Israelis Take Two Minutes to Reflect on Holocaust Memorial Day



Israelis Take Two Minutes to Reflect on Holocaust Memorial Day

Millions of Israelis – with some exceptions – took two minutes on Thursday to reflect on the Holocaust and its relevance to their lives

Millions of Israelis took two minutes on Thursday to reflect on the Holocaust and its relevance to their lives, as the nation stood at attention as sirens sounded in commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day. In a uniquely Israeli custom, Israelis from all backgrounds experienced a moment of transcendent unity as they stood in reflection in offices and schools, on the roads, and in their homes. Individuals reflected in their own ways, with some considering their family histories and the fact that their families survived one of the darkest eras of Jewish history, while others said silent prayers for the souls of the murdered….READ MORE

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