About 2,000 Jewish youths gathered at the former Nazi death camp in Auschwitz Thursday to mark the 45th anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising against Nazi rule and were urged to support Israel.

In a ceremony at the concentration camp where 4 million people, mostly Jews, died during World War II, Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Yitzak Navon told the young people from all over the world they had an obligation to "act for the strength of the Israeli state."His call was echoed by Benjamin Netanjahu, Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, who said, "The main lesson of Auschwitz is that Jews will be helpless without strength for their defense."

Some 1,000 Israelis were among the youths at the ceremony, which is part of the commemoration this week of the April 19, 1943, uprising in the Jewish ghetto of the Polish capital.

In the months before the uprising, Polish Jews had been herded into the walled-in Jewish district of Warsaw, to be decimated by starvation and rampant typhoid in the crowded ghetto.