Even the benches record sad memories in this area of Yad Vashem overlooking Jerusalem.
Yad Vashem this year is putting a special focus on the fate of Hungarian Jewry, “a tragic example of the swift and ruthless efficiency of the Germans and their local sympathisers during the latter period of the war.”
Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day 2014.
Yom Hashoah began Sunday evening and continues on Monday.
A heavy day in Israel.
This year the central theme is
Jews “On the Edge”
1944: Between Annihilation and Liberation
Dr. Dina Porat, Chief Historian of Yad Vashem, writes
Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ RemembranceDr. Porat's essay continues here, in the Yad Vashem Jerusalem Quarterly Magazine
Day 5754 (2014) is marked by the situation of
the Jews in 1944 – exactly 70 years ago. 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. On the one hand, cities from east to
west, such as Vilna and Minsk, Warsaw and
Riga, Belgrade and Sofia, Paris and Rome, were
being liberated from the yoke of Nazi Germany;
the Red Army was advancing, and the western
Allies continued to bombard Germany, their
landing in Normandy tipping the scales still further.
On the other hand, in the same year,
the Jews of Hungary were sent to Auschwitz,
the Lodz and Kovno ghettos were liquidated,
the last of their former inmates were deported
and murdered, and death marches were initiated
from the liberated territories to the heart of what
remained of the “Third Reich.” It was a year in
which everything depended on the scales of
time, and the Jews remaining in Europe were
asking themselves: will the Red Army from the
east and the Allies from the west arrive before
the Germans come to murder whoever is still
alive? Or, as Alterman wrote, which ending
will come first? Events were occurring fast,
one after the other, raising serious questions
in their wake. . . .
See also some short Yad Vashem videos for the memorial day.