Israel begins annual Holocaust memorial day

Associated Press
Israeli high school students look at a model of the Warsaw Ghetto at the museum "From Holocaust to Revival" in Kibbutz Yad Mordechai near the costal town of Ashkelon, Sunday, April 7, 2013. The annual Israeli memorial day for the 6 million Jews killed during the Holocaust of the World War II begins at sundown Sunday. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

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JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel has begun its annual Holocaust memorial day with the nation's leaders attending a solemn ceremony.

Sunday night's ceremony at the Yad Vashem memorial begins 24 hours of commemorations. Six million Jews were killed by German Nazis and their collaborators in the Holocaust, wiping out a third of world Jewry.

The annual memorial day is one of the most solemn on Israel's calendar. Restaurants, cafes and places of entertainment are shut down, and radio and TV programming are dedicated almost exclusively to documentaries about the Holocaust, interviews with survivors and somber music.

On Monday morning, Israel is scheduled to come to a standstill as sirens wail for two minutes. Pedestrians typically stop in their tracks as cars and buses halt on and passengers stand on roads with heads bowed.

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