President Rivlin addresses ambassadors ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day

January 26, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin addressed ambassadors to Israel from around the world at a special ceremony to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, held in the synagogue at Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial and Museum in Jerusalem.

President Rivlin [c] at Yad Vashem
Photo: Mark Neiman (GPO)

After his address, the President was accompanied by Yad VaShem chairman, Avner Shalev, on a tour of the new “Flashes of Memory” exhibition which presents rare photographs taken by Jews during the Holocaust.

The President said in his address, “Seventy-three years have passed since the fires of the Auschwitz crematoria were put out. Auschwitz has become a symbol of the Holocaust.” He added, “The UN decided that the day the Red Army liberated Auschwitz should be an international day of remembrance for the Holocaust, for the Shoah. That decision recognized how important it is to remember the Holocaust. How important it is to teach future generations about the Holocaust, and to carry on the commitment: Never Again.”

He stressed, “However, remembrance alone is not enough. We have all recently seen a rise in the spread of anti-Semitic, racist and Neo-Nazi ideas. We are seeing many more acts of anti-Semitic violence around the world. Groups that, in the past, were always kept out of the mainstream by the major political systems are now seeking to be accepted. In this environment, Jewish people are feeling less safe in their countries. Some even feel they need to hide their Jewishness. All these things are happening right now in Europe and elsewhere. We must not give in to anti-Semitism. We must fight against anti-Semitism, even when it looks like anti-Israel. We have to draw a very clear red line between us and between those who represent hate, Neo-Nazism, and anti-Semitism. It is our duty – the official representatives of Israel and representatives of all countries – to stand strong and to fight against all expressions of racism and hatred.”

Chairman of Yad VaShem, Avner Shalev said, “The victims of that hatred were the entire Jewish people and their culture, which were marked for total eradication. On this day, the world remembers their fate, and identifies with their courage.” He added, “At Yad VaShem we are convinced that the primary effective response to such evil ideologies is honest fact-based education, inspired by a firm commitment to the truth and to basic human decency.”

The “Flashes of Memory – Photography during the Holocaust” exhibition presents visual documentation from during the Holocaust, focusing on the circumstances of photography and the worldview of the documenting photographer, referring to the unique and different viewpoints of the Jewish photographers. The exhibition features nearly 1500 images, including photographs, albums, diaries and newspaper pages.

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