14 April 2004
The central theme for this year’s Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day is Until the Last Jew, Until the Last Name. Driven by a radical and uncompromising antisemitic ideology, the Nazis were committed to destroying the Jewish people until the last person. Today the Jewish people, through Yad Vashem, is collecting and documenting the names of those murdered, with the aim of returning to them their humanity and their identity… until the last name.
1944 was a decisive year in World War II. Nazi Germany was facing certain military defeat, and yet it redoubled its efforts to complete the most important task it had set for itself-the murder of European and North African Jewry, the achievement of the “Final Solution.” Sixty years since that dramatic and fateful year, we stand at a threshold. In a few months, the Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names-which presently contains nearly three million names-will be accessible on Yad Vashem’s website. This will enable the Jewish community worldwide to add the names of their lost relatives, friends, and colleagues in order to ensure their everlasting memorialization.
The Official Opening Ceremony for Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day will take place on Sunday, 18 April 2004, at 20:00, at the Warsaw Ghetto Square, Yad Vashem, Har Hazikaron, Jerusalem. The President of the State of Israel, Moshe Katsav, and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will address the participants. Prof. Szewach Weiss, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council, will kindle the Memorial Torch. Ruth Elias will speak on behalf of the survivors. The six torchlighters are Holocaust survivors living in Israel. First torch: Stella Franco Israel; second torch: Zvi Kratz; third torch: Yehuda Feigin; fourth torch: Vera Dotan; fifth torch: David Leitner; sixth torch: Esther Eisen. During the ceremony, short videos of the torchlighters’ testimonies will be shown (these were produced and directed by Shlomo Hazan).
The official memorial service will take place during the ceremony. The Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yonah Metzger, will recite Psalms. The Rishon Lezion Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Shlomo Amar, will recite Kaddish. El Ma’aleh Rahamim will be recited by Cantor Asher Hainowitz. Also participating in the ceremony will be singer Shlomit Aharon, and the Ephroni choir, conducted by Maya Shavit. Master of Ceremonies will be Einat Dolev, and texts will be read by Yoram Hatav.
The ceremony will be broadcast live on television on Channels 1, 2, and 10 and by radio on Kol Israel and Galei Zahal.
At 22:00, there will be a symposium in the auditorium at Yad Vashem entitled “And these are the names of the Children of Israel - Private Commemoration of the Individual Shoah Victim”. Panel participants will be Prof. Yehuda Bauer, Prof. Hanna Yablonka, Dr. Yaacov Lozowick, Dr. Dina Vardi, Mrs. Shulamit Imber, and singer Eran Tzur, who will also perform a song during the event. The symposium is open to the public, and will be broadcast live on Kol Yisrael Reshet Bet radio. Dr. Yitzhak Noy will chair the event.
Events on Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day,
Monday, 19 April 2004
- 10:00 Siren
- 10:02 Wreath-laying ceremony at the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Memorial, with the participation of Israel’s President, Prime Minister, Speaker of the Knesset, President of the Supreme Court, Chairman of the Jewish Agency, IDF Chief of General Staff, Chief of Police, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Mayor of Jerusalem, public figures, representatives of survivor organizations, students, and delegations from throughout the country
- 8:30-15:00 Meetings with survivors, multimedia activities, guided tours and creative workshops and more for over a thousand students - International School for Holocaust Studies
- 10:30-12:30 “Unto Every Person There is a Name” - recitation of names of Holocaust victims by members of the public in the Hall of Remembrance, and in the Knesset from 11:00-12:00, in the presence of Speaker of the Knesset Reuven Rivlin
- 11:00-15:30 Screening of Movies - Auditorium
- 13:00 Main Memorial Ceremony with the participation of a cantor - Hall of Remembrance
- 16:00 Memorial Ceremony for former members of the Jewish resistance in France - Auditorium
- 17:30 Ceremony for youth movements - Valley of the Communities, with the participation of Minister of Education, Culture, and Sport Limor Livnat, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev, and hundreds of youth movement members. The program includes performances by the Youth Movement Choir conducted by Gilad Lerer, actor Shmulik Shilah and students Yifat Ziv and Yuval Lev-Ari, who will perform a song by Vladislav Shlengel who perished in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The song was recomposed for the “Mu-zika - Youth Touch the Shoah” project of the International School for Holocaust Studies. Presenters are Sofie Tzadaka and Itti Shegev.
- The ceremony is organized by Yad Vashem in conjunction with the Ministry of Education’s Information Center, Youth and Social Administration, and Youth Movement Council. The ceremony will be aired live on Israel Television Channel One.
- 19:30 “Mu-zika - Youth Touch the Shoah”, about wills from the Holocaust
This performance marks the conclusion of this project of the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem. Seven choirs of young artists who composed songs based on the book These Are My Last Words - Last Letters from the Holocaust, dramatic pieces based on the book, and two dance pieces performed by the multicultural dance troupe of the Department for Youth Advancement of the Jerusalem Municipality - Beit Shmuel (entrance by invitation only).
Entrance to the Opening Ceremony
on Sunday, 18 April 2004 for Journalists
Please note: Due to security restrictions, just one special minibus for journalists will depart from Mt. Herzl to Yad Vashem. Journalists should arrive at Mt. Herzl by 18:15-private vehicles will not be admitted to Yad Vashem. Journalists arriving after 18:15 will be able to reach the ceremony by way of buses available to the public.
ENTRANCE WILL ONLY BE PERMITTED WITH A VALID GOVERNMENT PRESS OFFICE CARD
(GPO cards will be checked upon boarding the minibus, in the Mt. Herzl parking lot)
No firearms permitted!
It is recommended to dress warmly.
Entrance to the Wreath-Laying Ceremony for Journalists
in the Presence of the Prime Minister,Monday 19 April 2004 at 10:00 a.m.
Journalists will be permitted to enter the site by buses available to the public at the Mt. Herzl parking lot from 07:30.
Private vehicles will not be admitted to Yad Vashem.
ENTRANCE WILL ONLY BE PERMITTED WITH A VALID GOVERNMENT PRESS OFFICE CARD.
There will be no entry to the ceremony after 09:15.
From 11:00-20:00 entry will be permitted to all events at Yad Vashem, by way of transportation from Mt. Herzl.