The Jews who gathered in flaming torch-light at Yad Vashem on Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day this year recollected, through personal testimony, music, and poetry, the children who perished in what will always remain an inconceivable tragedy, and an incomparable crime.
God promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that their children would be as the stars in the heavens. And so they were: the one-and-a-half-million little ones who died in the flames of the Holocaust. On this year's commemoration they were especially remembered; their names read aloud in the Knesset, and at ceremonies around the world.
But former Knesset speaker, Dov Shilansky, was unable to read out the names of those children he had known and played with, "who were sent to Auschwitz crying 'Mamele, Ich will leben' [Mummy, I want to live]."
"The world heard," he declared, "and was silent."
Shevah Weiss, another former speaker, recalled how most of the children he had known in his Polish village were killed and hung on meat hooks in the local slaughterhouse.
There is no comprehending the evil that so brutally ripped away these hundreds of thousands of innocent lives. And there is no reckoning the wealth with which these children would have infused the Jewish people, and the world, had they been permitted to live their lives to the full.
Snuffed out at the very beginning, all that remains of the light they were intended to bring into the world is the flickering of 1,5 million "stars" in the void of darkness that cloaks the Children's Memorial at Yad Vashem, and the memories of the many-- brothers, sisters, neighbours, friends, and still a few parents--who can never forget.
For those who survived and came to Israel, today no longer all that young, the years since the Holocaust should have afforded a time of healing and peace. They have not. Those who have sowed in so many tears have yet to reap in joy.