Visuals from Israel took the world by storm recently as the country came to a peaceful halt for a full two minutes. Twitter blew up with images and videos from various parts of the country as cars and buses stopped on highways and pedestrians stopped in their tracks as emergency sirens blared in the background Thursday morning. And it was all part of a nationwide effort to pay respects to the six million Jewish victims lost during one of the worst genocides ever to be documented in history, the Holocaust.
The event occurs annually and according to the Hebrew calendar, Holocaust Remembrance Day specifically focuses on the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising. That event is considered the most significant act of Jewish resistance against Nazi Germany, which has then left a long-lasting legacy that still exists in Israel’s national mission today. When the Holocaust ended officially on May 8, 1945, nearly a third of the world’s Jewish population was eliminated at the hands of the Nazi regime.
“Nothing in the world will ever come close to the sight of a highway full of cars coming to a stop, everyone stepping out, and standing hands to the side and heads bowed for two minutes for a siren. It's chilling,” wrote Eylon Levy in a Twitter post, an investigative journalist for i24 News.
“After the siren, it takes two minutes for the traffic to start to flow properly. And something amazing happened: NOBODY HONKED,” Levy wrote in a succeeding post after the two-minute remembrance.
Traffic, both foot and automotive, weren’t the only sobering moments for the day as ceremonies were also held all throughout the country at public institutions, while schools dedicated the day to lessons about the genocide.
Meanwhile in Poland, a “March of the Living” took place at the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in conjunction with the day, according to The Times of Israel.