Obama: Yom Hashoah is day to honor survivors, oppose anti-Semitism

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — President Obama called Holocaust Remembrance Day an opportunity to honor survivors.

In a statement posted Monday on the White House website, Obama also called on the world to oppose anti-Semitism.

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“On this Yom HaShoah, I join people of all faiths in the United States, in the State of Israel, and around the world in remembering the six million Jews – innocent men, women and children – who were senselessly murdered during the Holocaust, as well as all the victims of Nazi brutality and violence,” Obama wrote.

“Even as we mourn those whose lives were taken, this day also provides us with an opportunity to honor those who emerged from the darkness of the Shoah to rebuild their lives in new communities around the world.  I am honored to have the opportunity to address survivors of the Holocaust, along with many of those who have worked so hard to preserve their testimony and share their stories, when I speak at the Shoah Foundation next week. On this Yom HaShoah, let us recommit ourselves to the task of remembrance, and to always oppose anti-Semitism wherever it takes root. Together, we must give enduring meaning to the words ‘Never Again.’ ”

On Monday morning, Israelis stood at attention for two minutes as a siren wailed throughout the country in memory of the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

The theme of this year’s remembrance is “1944: From Extermination to Liberation.”

The previous evening, during a ceremony at the Yad Vashem memorial, six Holocaust survivors representing the 6 million Jewish victims of the Nazis lit torches after telling their stories in a prerecorded video.

On Yom Hashoah in Israel, places of entertainment are closed and Holocaust themed-movies and documentaries are shown on television channels. Memorial ceremonies are held throughout the country.

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