Today, January 27, 2012, the IDF honors the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Designated by the UN General Assembly in 2005, this day marks the liberation of the Nazis’ biggest and deadliest death camp: Auschwitz-Birkenau. In this death camp an estimated 1.6 million Jews were systematically murdered, out of the six million murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
The Israeli state was founded to function as a home for the Jewish people. After the Holocaust, the need for a Jewish state grew bigger, and Israel was founded. The IDF — Israeli Defense Forces — is the Israeli army, and its purpose is to protect and defend Israel and its citizens. It serves as a functioning military which will thwart any attempt to harm Israeli civilians. In addition, the IDF draws inspiration from many significant events of the Jewish and Israeli history, among which are all those who fought against the Nazi regime and its inhumane cruelty.
Many activities are being carried out throughout the year to commemorate the memory of the Holocaust, from weekly volunteer work with survivors to Witnesses in Uniform, a special program in which IDF officers and soldiers go on educational trips to Poland to learn more about their history and about the Holocaust. Furthermore, any foreign general on an official visit to Israel must pay a visit to Israel’s Yad Vashem, the world center for documentation, research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust.
“The message that we bear with us”, says Col. (Res.) Avi Maor, one of the six pilots and navigators that took part in the flight, “is that we and the State of Israel are alive and strong enough to ensure that something like this will never happen again. An entire generation is gone, for many of them there was not even someone left to say ‘Kadish’. This is the debt that we owe them, the six million who perished there”.