Israel Marks Memorial Day for Martyrs of the Holocaust

"Israel must be the absolute denial of the theories of discrimination and racism" and "the loss of human dignity which was the handwork of our enemy," President Chaim Herzog declared in a speech officially opening the annual Memorial Day for the heroes and martyrs of the Holocaust at the Yad Vashem Monday night.

It is Israel’s obligation, he said, to stand firm against "even the smallest taint of darkness, evil, racism and wickedness." Many other speakers referred pointedly to the Presidential elections in Austria Sunday. Yitzhak Arad, chairman of the Yad Vashem, noted that half the Austrian voters said "yes" to Kurt Waldheim, a man "alleged to have been an accomplice in the atrocities carried out by the Nazi army." Waldheim, who won 49.66 percent of the vote, faces a run-off election June 8.

Sirens sounded all over Israel at noon Tuesday, bringing all activity to a half for two minutes of silence in memory of the Holocaust victims. Schools devote part of the day to discussions on the Holocaust. Rallies were to be held Tuesday night at Kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot, where Premier Shimon Peres will speak, and at Kibbutz Yad Mordechai.

At the Binyanei Haooma, the Jerusalem convention center, the final round of the international quiz on Jewish heroism during the Holocaust was held. The quiz, the first of its kind, was organized jointly by the Education Ministry, the World Zionist Organization and Histadrut.

Miriam Nocher, 17, of Argentina won with 133 points, followed by Ada Weininger of Israel with 132. Reuven Zigler of New York was third and Asher Kravitz of Israel was fourth. The four winners received scholarships, a special medal and a trip to Poland. A scholarship for one year of study in Israel was awarded to Dorotea Tennenblat of Warsaw, the only contestant from a Soviet bloc country.

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