President Rivlin laid a wreath at the Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Heroes’ and Martyrs’ Remembrance Day) ceremony at the Hall of Remembrance at Yad Vashem. (photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Activity in Israel ground to a halt on Thursday morning for Yom Hashoah, the country’s Holocaust Remembrance Day.

A two-minute siren brought Israelis to their feet and stopped traffic in the street. The siren was followed by ceremonies in cities and schools across the country, beginning with a wreath-laying ceremony at Yad Vashem, the nation’s Holocaust center in Jerusalem.

At the Knesset, lawmakers and other officials on Thursday read out the names of Holocaust victims as part of the annual “Every Person Has a Name” ceremony.

Martyrs Forest 8. The Scroll of Fire. Photo: Yaakov Skolnik.

The B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund held their annual Holocaust ceremony commemorating Jewish rescuers of the Holocaust at the Martyr’s Forest Scroll of Fire Plaza near Jerusalem, this year honoring rescuers from the Jewish Defense Committee in Belgium that saved thousands of children and 10,000 adults.

“Even in Belgium, brave Jewish citizens stood up to help their brothers and disrupt the Nazis’ plans,” H.E. Olivier Belle, Belgium’s ambassador to Israel, said at the ceremony. “Their mission was heroic and must not be ignored, and for that we salute these warriors in the shadows with the utmost respect.”

Meanwhile, a Holocaust survivor was rescued by firefighters from her burning apartment near Tel Aviv on Thursday morning.

“You are angels compared to the devils of back then,” the elderly woman told the firefighters, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The firefighters invited her to join them at a Holocaust remembrance ceremony at their station house.

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