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Israelis stand in silent remembrance of Holocaust victims

Gali Tibbon / AFP - Getty Images

People observe two minutes of silence during the annual ceremony at the Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem, Israel, marking the annual Holocaust remembrance day on April 19, 2012.

The entire country of Israel came to a halt on Thursday when a siren sounded to mark Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day. 

The day is one of the most solemn on Israel's calendar. Restaurants and places of entertainment shut down, and radio and TV programming focuses on Holocaust documentaries and interviews with survivors.

-- The Associated Press and EPA contributed to this report

Oded Balilty / AP

Holocaust survivor Meir Friedman waits to tell his personal testimony to an audience of Israeli border police officers during a ceremony in the Martyr's forest near Moshav Kesalon, in central Israel, April 19, 2012.

Oded Balilty / AP

Meir Friedman, center right, tells his story to a group of Israeli border police officers on April 19, 2012.

Jim Hollander / EPA

A man's eyes wells up with tears as he and everyone in a car of the electric light tram system comes to a stop in Jerusalem when a siren sounds for two minutes, April 19, 2012, marking Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day.

Sebastian Scheiner / AP

Israelis stand still next to their cars on a highway as a two-minute siren sounds in memory of victims of the Holocaust in Jerusalem on April 19, 2012.