JERUSALEM: Israel's Yad Vashem memorial serves as a mirror to societies as the world is grappling with intolerance, hatred and terror, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today as he paid homage to the victims of the Holocaust.
Modi was accompanied by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Israel's largest memorial to the Holocaust, among the greatest tragedies in human history as some six million Jews were killed by Nazi Germany.
The leaders toured the Hall of Names, containing photographs and names of Holocaust victims, and the Children's Memorial and participated in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance.
In the visitors' book at the memorial, Prime Minister Modi, wrote, "I am deeply moved by my visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum. It is as much a poignant reminder of the unspeakable evil inflicted generations ago as it is a symbol of the endurance and fortitude of the Jewish people."
"As we deal with conflict, intolerance, hatred and terror in our time, Yad Vashem serves as a mirror to societies around the world. May we not forget the injustices of the past and its devastating toll on humanity. And remembering the past, may we empower our children to make compassionate, just and righteous choices for their future," Modi wrote.
Before departing the Yad Vashem complex, Modi visited the grave of Binyamin Ze'ev (Theodor) Herzl at the suggestion of Netanyahu.
Theodor Herzl was an Austro-Hungarian journalist, playwright, political activist, and writer who was one of the fathers of modern political Zionism, a movement to establish a Jewish homeland.
Yad Vashem started as an organisation in 1953 on the slopes of the Mount of Remembrance near Jerusalem, as a form of reference to future generations, documenting the memory of Holocaust victims and the history of the Jewish people during the tragic time.
The museum occupies over 4,200 square metres - mainly underground - and emphasises the experiences of the individual victims through original artifacts, survivor testimonies, and personal possessions.
Shaped as a prism penetrating the mountain, the new Yad Vashem opened in 2005. Its architecture sets the atmosphere for the nine chilling galleries of interactive historical displays which present the Holocaust in several ways.
The museum leads into the Hall of Names, which contains more than three million names of Holocaust victims submitted by their families and relatives.
The Holocaust was the killing of nearly six million Jews, including some 1.5 million children, by Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany. Though the persecution of Jews began in 1933, the mass murder was committed during the more than four years of World War II.
On his arrival, Modi was greeted by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu along with the top tier of Israel's leadership - known as segel aleph.
Modi's three-day visit to Israel is the first by an Indian prime minister to the Jewish state.