May 2, 2000
Millions of Jews in Israel and abroad will mark Holocaust Martyrs' and
Heroes' Remembrance Day beginning this evening and into tomorrow. Every
year Israel officially honors those who died or suffered through the
Holocaust by stopping for a two-minute moment of silence. This year the
government has ordered businesses (excluding hotels) to close from the
evening of May 1 until the following sunrise in respect. Cafes and
restaurants will be open on Tuesday, but all other places of entertainment
will be closed.
The theme for this year's Holocaust Remembrance Day is "The Jewish Family
and the Holocaust: The Struggle for Survival and the Search for Refuge and
In the wake of last month's Lipstadt-Irving trial, Jewish leaders are
hoping to highlight the horrible truths of the Holocaust in order to
dismiss the lies of revisionism and denial, Neo-Nazism, xenophobia, and to
pass the along its timeless significance to those who were not directly
At Israel's Yad Vashem - the nation's revered memorial to the Jewish
martyrs and Gentile rescuers of the Holocaust - thousands will attend an
invitation-only ceremony at Warsaw Ghetto Square this evening to formally
kick off Holocaust Remembrance Day. Education Minister Yossi Sarid is
expected to deliver a speech concerning the Righteous Gentiles who saved
thousands of Jews during the Holocaust.
Tomorrow sirens will sound throughout the country at 10 AM. Traffic will
come to a standstill and the entire nation will stand silently for two
minutes in tribute to the memory of those murdered during the Holocaust.
President Weizman, Sarid, and more than twenty MKs are flying to Poland to
unite with thousands of international Jewish youths for the annual March of
the Living from Auschwitz to Birkenau on Tuesday.
Yad Vashem will dedicate a new multi-million dollar wing onto its existing
facilities next week which will focus on the persecution of non-Jewish
groups targeted by the Nazis, including Gypsies, homosexuals, the
handicapped, Freemasons, Jehovah's Witnesses and others. The wing is a part
of larger project called "Yad Vashem 2001" that will entail the
construction of a new entrance plaza and Visitor's Center, plus expansion
and refurbishment of the museum complex.