Poignant Holocaust Remembrance Day Reminds Israelis of October 7 Atrocities

By Nicole Jansezian

While sirens rang out, all of Israel came to a standstill for two minutes last week. 

These weren’t the sirens that warn of incoming rockets or reminders of the current war still raging on Israel’s borders, but rather were a sign for Israelis to mark in silence Holocaust Remembrance Day, honoring the memory of 6 million Jews killed in the Nazi slaughter.

This year the memories were not too distant. More than half of Jewish Israelis believe that what happened on October 7 is comparable to the Holocaust, according to a poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute. 

Israel observes Holocaust Remembrance Day on the date on the Hebrew calendar that marks the beginning of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The date commemorated internationally is on January 27, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

One of CBN Israel’s focuses in its humanitarian outreach is caring for the dwindling number of Holocaust survivors in Israel—at least one third of whom live below the poverty line. Financial and material help is designed to allow them to live with dignity after all they suffered.

Two such survivors that CBN Israel supports are Malka and Michael who came under attack when a rocket destroyed their home and almost killed them.

“When I heard the blast, I thought the world ended. I saw my husband covered in blood,” Malka said. “Shrapnel pierced his ear. He has Parkinson’s disease, and I couldn’t move him to safety. It was so horrible.”

Eventually paramedics reached and treated the couple and got them to safety. Now CBN Israel is supporting the couple with rent and groceries while their home is being repaired.

To mark the somber occasion, representatives of CBN Israel attended the Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony of the Association of the Deaf in Israel in which survivors who are also deaf, shared their stories in sign language with a large crowd that gathered in Tel Aviv.

Understanding that in war time the challenges of people with disabilities are exacerbated—for instance, people who are deaf cannot hear sirens that warn of incoming rockets—CBN Israel is now coming alongside the Association of the Deaf to support their community. 

At a moving ceremony, participants watched the testimony of Leah Boznitsky, who became deaf at the age of 2 right before the Nazis entered her hometown in France. Leah survived because her parents placed her in a Catholic orphanage during the war where she hid her Jewish identity.

Leah, who sadly passed away on October 12, was able to reach Israel in 1949 after a harrowing journey and time spent in a detainment center. She was a longtime member of the Association of the Deaf branch in Tel Aviv.

Through CBN Israel’s support of organizations such as these, our impact will extend to more communities throughout the country who have suffered in diverse ways. 

Nicole Jansezian is the media coordinator for CBN Israel. A long-time journalist, Nicole was previously the news editor of All Israel News and All Arab News and a journalist at The Associated Press. On her YouTube channel, Nicole gives a platform to the minority communities in Jerusalem and highlights stories of fascinating people in this intense city. Born and raised in Queens, N.Y., she lives in Jerusalem with her husband, Tony, and their three children.

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