Israel remembers Holocaust victims

Roses with a note saying "#weremember", are placed on the Holocaust Memorial on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021.

Israel paused on Thursday to mourn the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis during the Second World War on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

At about 10 a.m., sirens went off nationwide for two minutes while pedestrians paused and drivers pulled their cars over on streets and highways, reports dpa news agency.

The sirens marked the beginning of a series of memorial activities on the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, an official day to honour the Jews who died at the hands of Nazi Germany and its collaborators.

According to official figures, 174,500 Holocaust survivors are still alive in Israel.

Eighty-three per cent of them are older than 80, and 18 per cent are older than 90.

More than 900 Holocaust survivors in Israel are older than 100.

President Reuven Rivlin said at a ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial that some 900 survivors in Israel died “as a direct result” of the coronavirus pandemic.

He said many of them spent their final days “distraught and isolated, behind masks and protective gloves, longing for contact but separated from their loved ones”.

“Our hearts are with them and their families,” Rivlin said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other officials also attended the ceremony.

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