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Travel Pool 13b: More from Guest Book signing at Yad Vashem
Mike Memoli • Los Angeles Times
May 23, 2017: 02:12 PM


(apologies for delay. We've had some quick movements and very long walks/sprints between stops).

POTUS spoke for just more than four minutes after signing a guest book at Yad Vashem.

"Words can never describe the bottomless depths of that evil or the scope of the anguish and destruction. It was history's darkest hour," he said of the Holocaust.

"It was the most savage crime against God and his children, and it is our solemn duty to remember, to mourn, to grieve and to honor every single life that was so cruelly and viciously taken."

It is only when we remember the victims of the Holocaust that we can "prevent this agony from ever repeating," POTUS said. He said Israel and the memorial "are a testament to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people, and the hope that light can shine the path beyond the darkness." Israel "is a strong and soaring monument to the solemn pledge we repeat and affirm: never again."

"As long as we refuse to be silent in the face of evil, as long as we refuse to dim the light of truth in the midst of darkness, as long as we refuse to become bystanders to barbarity then we know that goodness, peace, and justice will ultimately prevail."

Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke next, thanking POTUS who he said, "in so few words said so much." He thanked him again for his visit to Israel so early in his term, including the Western Wall yesterday and now Yad Vashem.

He also offered his condolences to victims of the "bloody horro" in Manchester today, saying such terrorism must be "unconditionally condemned, and unflinchingly confronted."

"No matter where it occurs, in Manchester, San Bernardino or Jerusalem, terror is terror is terror. We must all unite to defeat it."

He noted that POTUS had called terrorists "losers" earlier today. "It's our job to make sure that they continue to lose. We will defeat them."

After remarks, POTUS was presented with a token of rememberance by Avner Shalev, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate. As described earlier in a pool report by the memorial: "The personal album of Ester Goldstein is one of hundreds of thousands of personal items preserved for posterity in the Yad Vashem Archives. The album is comprised of messages of hope and everlasting friendship inscribed by Ester's family and friends. Some of the pages are embellished with optimistic and innocent illustrations, while others include photographs of those dearest to her."

Shalev, speaking about the contents, noted it was rare to have a collection of writings from young victims. "Most of them didn't leave any trace behind," he said,

Before leaving, POTUS spent some time Margot Herschenbaum, the sole survivor of her immediate family. She appeared to be emotional after POTUS left.



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