The plaque honoring Oskar Schindler in the Mount Zion Franciscan Cemetery, Jerusalem. (Limmud FSU).
(photo credit: LIMMUD FSU)
Oskar Schindler may be one of the most famous Christians who saved Jews during the Holocaust, a church official said, but he is just one of many and all of them should be remembered.
“There is no doubt that Oskar Schindler serves as a symbol for the Righteous Among the Nations, whom we must remember and cherish,” said the representative of the Catholic Franciscan Church in Israel, Father Alberto, during a ceremony in Jerusalem in honor of the German industrialist.
To mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, a special event took place on Thursday in the Chamber of the Holocaust on Jerusalem’s Mount Zion, during which a plaque was unveiled in honor of Schindler, who was responsible for saving 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust. The plaque reads: “The unforgettable rescuer of 1,200 persecuted Jews,” and is located underneath the biblical quote “the voice of your brother’s blood cries out.”
The chamber was the first museum devoted to the Holocaust in Israel, and was established in 1949. The event was initiated by Limmud FSU, together with the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany and March of the Living.
Schindler died in 1974, and at his request, was buried in the Catholic Franciscan cemetery on Mount Zion, near to the Chamber of the Holocaust. Schindler had a strong Catholic household and deeply religious parents, according to author Thomas Keneally in his international bestseller “Schindler’s Ark.”
During the first years after its establishment, the chamber served as a symbolic cemetery, and its walls were covered by survivors with memorial plaques to their destroyed communities.
The event began at the cemetery, with a short ceremony next to Schindler’s grave. Lily Haber, the daughter of a Schindler’s list survivor Yaakov Lazar and who also serves as chairman of Krakow survivors organization, said “Schindler saved not only 1,200 Jews while endangering his life, but tens of thousands of souls, descendants of the survivors. We must cherish and remember him.”
Following the ceremony, the plaque honoring Schindler was unveiled in the Chamber of the Holocaust, and a special candle lightning took place in memory of the victims.
“The Chamber of the Holocaust is the place where the ashes of 250,000 Jews murdered in the Holocaust were buried,” said Chaim Chesler, Limmud FSU founder and the initiator of the event. “And this is the right place to commemorate one of the greatest Righteous Among the Nations.”
Shlomo Gur, vice president of the Claims Conference in Israel, said more must be done to remember Schindler.
“The award of the title of Righteous Among the Nations is an apology to Oscar Schindler, whose memory has been forgotten over the years,” he said. “The event today is a tribute to the courage he displayed in rescuing the 1,200 Jews, we must continue to remember and not to forget.”