PM Netanyahu’s Speech at the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’
> Remembrance Day Ceremony
> Tonight, the eve of Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day,
> we remember our brothers and sisters who were murdered in the death
> camps, in the forests and in the killing fields. We listen to the
> voices of the survivors who serve as the voice of the millions who
> died. Before their deaths, many of the murdered begged, “Do not
> forget us. Tell our story - tell the world, tell the coming
> generations - how great our suffering was, how terrible the horror
> was, how great our sacrifice was.”
> We are deeply indebted to the survivors for their courage to return
> to life, to establish families, to contribute to building the
> country, and for their courage to speak out and tell their stories.
> It is only during the past several years that we have been doing
> more to help and make things easier for the survivors in their
> twilight years, and we will continue to do so.
> Distinguished guests,
> Several months ago, I headed the Israeli delegation to the ceremony
> marking 65 years since the liberation of the death camps Auschwitz
> and Birkenau. The candle-lighting ceremony took place outside in
> front of the monument. It was 15 degrees celsius below zero, but it
> was still warmer than the terrible winter of 1944-1945 when
> temperatures ranged from 30 to 35 degrees below zero. We stood for
> about 30 minutes during the ceremony, well-dressed for the weather.
> Nevertheless, we were freezing. Suddenly I understood a simple,
> chilling truth about millions of my brothers and sisters who ended
> up in that cursed place: those who didn’t burn, froze; and those
> who didn’t freeze, burned.
> Several months earlier, I visited the Wannsee Villa in Berlin .
> There, I saw the original invitation for the meeting of high-level
> Nazi officials, in which they decided to wipe out the Jewish
> people. On the invitation that was sent by the Deputy Head of the
> SS was written: “The chief of the Reich main security office,
> Reinhard Heydrich, cordially invites you to a discussion about the
> Final Solution to the Jewish problem. Breakfast will be served at
> 09:00 .”
> This is how, in an elegant villa on the shore of a pastoral lake,
> over breakfast and glasses of cognac, 15 men sat and decided how to
> destroy our people. No one batted an eyelid; no one expressed any
> doubt regarding the mission, either its necessity or its justness.
> Immediately after the meal, they began their work to erase the seed
> of Abraham from the Earth.
> As I was walking through the villa, moving from document to
> document, I was filled with a helpless rage, and the feeling
> continued to grow until it became a flood. At the end of the tour,
> my German host asked me to write something in the guest book. I sat
> in the chair and the sadness and the anger rose up and started to
> overflow. And because of the storm of emotions, I wrote only three
> words: Am Israel Chai [the People of Israel live].
> Tonight at Mount Herzl , I say those words again: Am Israel Chai.
> And the people of Israel will continue to live. It re-established
> its country, gathered its exiles, built its army, settled its
> homeland and reunited its capital, Jerusalem . “The Land of Israel
> was the birthplace of the Jewish people.” That is how David Ben-
> Gurion opened the Declaration of Independence. The State of Israel
> was born out of the ruins and the ashes, and today it impresses the
> entire world with the force of its creativity and innovation, with
> its advanced research and knowledge, with the momentum of its
> economy and with its free and democratic society.
> Within several decades, the State of Israel has become one of the
> most advanced countries in the world: Israeli products help cure
> illnesses and feed millions of people; Israeli developments help
> irrigate fields and orchards on every continent; and Israeli ideas
> help save energy in every corner of the globe. Israel is a rich
> source of innovation for the world and is poised for the future.
> Nevertheless, today we must ask the question: have the lessons of
> the Holocaust been learned? I believe that there are three lessons:
> fortify your strength, teach good deeds and fight evil. The first
> lesson - fortify your strength - relates first and foremost to us,
> the people of Israel who were abandoned and defenseless when faced
> with waves of murderous hatred that rose against us time after
> time. “In every generation there are those who stand against us.”
> And in this generation we must fortify our strength and
> independence so that we will be able to prevent the current enemy
> from carrying out its plan.
> Fortifying our strength is the first condition for our existence.
> At the end of the day, it is also a necessary condition to
> expanding the circle of peace with those neighbors who accept our
> The second lesson - teach good deeds - means accepting or rather
> teaching to accept the other and differing opinions. This is the
> recognition that every man is created in G-d’s image and that every
> person has full rights to freedom, to life and to choosing their
> own path. This is the essence of a free society. This is the basis
> that prevents the growth of a Nazi ideology or any other fanatic
> ideology that preaches genocide and carries it out. This is what we
> teach the children of Israel , which is a magnificent country, a
> beacon of tolerance in a dark and fanatical region.
> But, ladies and gentlemen, this teaching of good deeds has a
> complementary side, and that is the third lesson of the Holocaust:
> fight evil. It is not enough to simply do good and be tolerant. A
> free society must ask itself what it will do when faced with the
> destructive forces of evil that seek to destroy and trample man and
> his rights. There is no tolerance without boundaries and the
> boundaries of tolerance must be outlined. And all free countries
> must define these boundaries for themselves.
> The historic failure of the free world when faced with the Nazi
> menace was that they did not stand up against it in time, while
> there was still a chance to stop it. And here we are today again
> witnesses to the fire of the new-old hatred, the hatred of the
> Jews, that is expressed by organizations and regimes associated
> with radical Islam, headed by Iran and its proxies. Iran ’s leaders
> race to develop nuclear weapons and they openly state their desire
> to destroy Israel . But in the face of these repeated statements to
> wipe the Jewish state off the face of the Earth, at best we hear a
> weak protest, and even this is fading away. The required firm
> protest is not heard - not a sharp condemnation, not a cry of
> warning. The world continues on as usual and there are even those
> who direct their criticism at us, against Israel .
> Today, 65 years after the Holocaust, we must say in all honesty
> that what is most outrageous is the absence of outrage. The world
> gradually accepts Iran ’s statements of destruction against Israel
> and we still do not see the necessary international determination
> to stop Iran from arming itself with nuclear weapons. But if we
> have learned anything from the lessons of the Holocaust, it is that
> we must not remain silent and be deterred in the face of evil.
> I call on all enlightened countries to rise up to forcefully and
> firmly condemn Iran ’s destructive intentions and to act with
> genuine determination to stop it from acquiring nuclear weapons.
> These are the three lessons of the Holocaust: fight evil, teach
> good deeds and fortify your strength. My friends, where does our
> strength come from? From our unity, from our heritage, from our
> common past and future. Together, we treasure our past. Together,
> we forge the path to our future.
> We are not here by chance. We returned to this land because it is
> our land; we returned to Zion because it is our city. We are paving
> roads north and south, and transforming a barren land into a
> flourishing garden. This is our answer to those who seek our
> As the prophet Isaiah said:
> “Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress, and instead of the
> brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall be to the Lord for a
> memorial, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off… Even
> unto them will I give in My house and within My walls a monument
> and a memorial…I will give them an everlasting memorial, that shall
> not be cut off.”