JERUSALEM Apr 12/10. – Israel
used the solemn occasion of Monday's annual Holocaust memorial day to call on
the world to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and to draw new
attention to the plight of the dwindling number of survivors.
The wail of air raid sirens
pierced the air for two minutes as the country came to a standstill in a yearly
ritual remembering the 6 million Jews who perished in World War II.
At the memorial's opening
ceremony late Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to draw parallels
to the rise of Nazi Germany and the development of Iran's nuclear program.
Israel, like the West, believes
Iran is developing nuclear weapons, and Netanyahu derided the world's response
to curbing Tehran's atomic ambitions as limp. "If we have learned
anything from the Holocaust, it is that we must not be silent or be deterred in
the face of evil," Netanyahu said.
The Yad Vashem memorial
authority picked "Voices of the Survivors" as the theme of this year's
commemoration. Sixty-five years after World War II, about 207,000 aging
survivors, many of them destitute and alone, live in Israel, down 63,000 from
just two years earlier.
In Jerusalem, Yad Vashem opened
a new art exhibit on Monday displaying works by survivors. Among the collection
was a painting by Shoshana Noyman, 78, who lost her father and sister during a
six-week death march in Ukraine. The painting shows a bearded man, eyes closed
with exhaustion, carrying a young girl on his shoulders. She said her father
dropped dead of exhaustion at the end of the march, while her sister died from
"I have no pictures of my
family. I drew this from memory. This is how I remember them," said Noyman, who
was forced to stand guard by her sister's body for more than a week before it
could be removed.
At the Israeli parliament on
Monday, Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, other officials and survivors read
names of loved ones who perished.
Peres recited the names of his
family members killed "with 2,060 of their community members in the town of
Vishneva in August 1942," saying the "Nazis and their accomplices assembled the
town's residents in the synagogue that was made of wood and cruelly shot and
burned them to death."
The front page of the Yediot
Ahronot daily carried a black-and-white photo of a bearded Polish Jew, wrapped
in a prayer shawl, kneeling before two Nazi soldiers, his arms raised, fists
clenched, before he was executed.
The man was the maternal
grandfather of Meir Dagan, chief of the Mossad spy agency, who told the
newspaper: "I see that photo every day and vow that something like that will not