Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah in Hebrew) is a national day of commemoration in Israel, on which the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust are memorialized. It is a solemn day, beginning at sunset on the 27th of the month of Nisan and ending the following evening. Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day 2014 will be on Monday, 28 April. The State opening ceremony will be held at the Yad Vashem museum on Sunday, 27 April at 20:00.
Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah) 2014, marks 70 years since 1944, a year of massive upheaval and significance during the Holocaust. The expression "on the edge", taken from Nathan Alterman's poem Joy of the Poor, very aptly expresses the feeling which prevailed that year among the Jews of Europe, who were in the throes of a double race on which their very lives depended. Events were occurring very swiftly, one after the other, raising serious questions in their wake.
The central ceremonies, in the evening and the following morning, are held at the Yad Vashem museum and are broadcast on TV. Marking the start of the day - in the presence of the President of the State of Israel and the Prime Minister, dignitaries, survivors, children of survivors and their families, gather together with the general public to take part in the memorial ceremony at Yad Vashem in which six torches, representing the six million murdered Jews, are lit.
The following morning, the ceremony at Yad Vashem begins with the sounding of a siren for two minutes throughout the entire country. For the duration of the sounding, work is halted, people walking in the streets stop, cars pull off to the side of the road and everybody stands at silent attention in reverence to the victims of the Holocaust. Afterward, the focus of the ceremony at Yad Vashem is the laying of wreaths at the foot of the six torches, by dignitaries and the representatives of survivor groups and institutions. Other sites of remembrance in Israel, such as the Ghetto Fighters' Kibbutz and Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, also host memorial ceremonies, as do schools, military bases, municipalities and places of work.
Holocaust survivor Eliezer Lev-Zion tells his story
Eliezer Lev-Zion was born in 1927 in Berlin, Germany, as Oskar-Eliezer Lewinsohn. His father, Nathan, was a journalist, and his mother, Franscheska, a doctor who managed a Jewish orphanage. A month after the Nazis came to power, Oskar's father was arrested and disappeared. Heavily pregnant, Franscheska fled to France together with Eliezer, settling in Lyon. A month later, Eliezer's brother Marcel Gideon was born.
In November 1942, the Germans occupied southern France, and Eliezer was arrested for holding counterfeit identification documents. After his release, he joined the Jewish underground.
For three and a half years, Eliezer wandered from place to place. In February 1944, Eliezer met his mother and brother in Grenoble -- but the Gestapo stormed their meeting place and seized Franscheska and Marcel. Eliezer managed to escape but his brother and mother were deported and murdered in Auschwitz.
In 1946, Eliezer sailed for Eretz Israel. After fighting in the War of Independence, he established a farm. He has also worked as an agriculture instructor, acclimatizing plants, and managed greenhouses and forest-planting projects of the Jewish National Fund. He has three children, seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.