People stand still in Jerusalem in memory of the Holocaust victims. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Israel marked Yom Hashoah, its annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, on Thursday in memory of the six million Jews murdered by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II.

Ceremonies were held around the country on the solemn day and places of entertainment were closed.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended the main ceremony at Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

On Thursday, Israelis came to a mournful, two-minute standstill to remember the victims. A siren sounded, pedestrians stopped in their tracks and motorists pulled over on highways and roads.

The names of those killed were read out in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.

The central theme for Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day 2016 is “everything is forbidden to us, and yet we do everything” – the struggle to maintain the human spirit during the Holocaust.

Rivlin Yad Vashem

President Rivlin addressing the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day ceremony at Yad Vashem. (Mark Neiman/GPO)

Many of those who struggled to maintain and preserve the human spirit did not survive the horrors of the Holocaust, but their deeds and actions are a reminder to future generations of the stamina and the nobility of the human spirit.

Speaking at the opening ceremony at Yad Vashem on Wednesday evening, President Reuven Rivlin state that Israel “will forever know how to protect ourselves by ourselves. The Holocaust will forever place us, the Jewish people, as eternal prosecutors on the stage of humanity, prosecutor against anti-Semitism, racism and ultra-nationalism.”

“In the name of all our brothers and sisters, our loved ones who perished in the Holocaust, I give thanks to He who brought us to this moment, to these days of revival. Am Yisrael Chai, the people of Israel lives,” Israel’s president state.

By: AP and United with Israel Staff