Amb. Nides lights Hanukkah candles with Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan
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02 December 2021
On Thursday 2 December, the US Ambassador to Israel H.E. Mr. Thomas Nides visited Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, along with his son, Max. Ambassador Nides toured the Holocaust History Museum, guided by Senior Historian at the International Institute for Holocaust Research, David Silberklang. He participated in a moving ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance, where he reignited the Eternal Flame in memory of the six million Holocaust victims and heard the stirring Jewish prayer for the souls of martyrs, El Maleh Rahamim.
Following the ceremony, Ambasador Nides walked through the Children’s Memorial and then signed the Yad Vashem Guestbook.
"There is a reason I came here on my first official visit as the US Ambassdor – it is for the grandmothers and the grandfathers; the mothers and fathers; the little boys and little girls; the teachers; for all of us we say one thing, please God, may it never happen again."
Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan commented at the conclusion of the visit:
“In Yad Vashem you will not see many flags. This is a place to bow heads, to shed tears, and to pray silently, as I saw you doing. This is a place, also, that has an obligation to know everything about the fate of the Jewish people during the Holocaust. Not only for ourselves but for future generations as well.”
"One of the messages we take away from the Holocaust is that when we see antisemitism, when we see racism, xenophobia it is our responsibility to confront it immediately and forcefully, this includes calls for the annihilation of the State of Israel by a any party. We know what can happen if antisemitism is left unchecked. We have experienced the genocidal atrocities that can grow if this hatred is left to develop without being confronted. That is the mission of Yad Vashem.”
The Ambassador was then taken on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Yad Vashem Archives, a rare opportunity, not generally open to the public. There Amb. Nides saw original documents from the Holocaust period, including the well-known Schindler's List as well as the authentic order signed by Heinrich Himmler on 19 July 1942 ordering the "resettlement" of the entire Jewish population in the Generalgouvernement region by the end of 1942. After the tour, Ambassador Nides sat with Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan and Senior Historian at Yad Vashem’s International Institute for Holocaust Research Dr. Robert Rozett, to discuss the timely topics of Holocaust denial and antisemitism.
In honor of the fifth night of Hanukkah, the Ambassador’s visit concluded with the lighting of a nineteenth-century Hanukkah Menorah from Alphen aan den Rijn, Holland. The Menorah was found in the 1980s under the floor during renovations of a church that had formally been a synagogue, wrapped in newspapers dated 1941. The city’s Jewish community was destroyed in the Holocaust.