Betar Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremonies held outside the German embassy.
(photo credit: NOFAR GOLAN LEVI)
After decades of Holocaust Remembrance Day protest ceremonies held by the Zionist youth movement Betar outside the German Embassy in Tel Aviv, the ambassador participated in the event on Thursday, for the first time ever.
Ambassador Clemens von Goetze joined World Betar members from Israel and around the world at the ceremony, which places an emphasis on Germany as the instigator of the Holocaust.
“Every year Betar holds the ceremony near the German Embassy to convey the message that in the Holocaust there were not only victims but also murderers, and the address for that was Germany. If we forget the source of evil we will not know what is goodness,” World Betar chairman Neria Meir told the ambassador.
“On this day we will remember the flag of Israel that was first raised during the Holocaust in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising by the Betarim. Along with the armed struggle they waged against the Germans was the point of transition from Holocaust to rebirth. This is our legacy on this difficult day,” he added.
World Zionist Organization vice chairman Yaakov Hagoel said: “Today, too, we remember the six million Jews who were murdered, who perished and were burned solely because they were Jews, but there are still antisemites who try to obscure and deny the horrors of the Holocaust.
“I ask myself, even though there is the German ambassador here, is there a different Germany? I ask myself these days whether there is a different Europe?” Hagoel continued.
“We are in a decade when more and more Jews are being hurt by antisemitic violence in Europe. More and more Jews are fearful of being Jews. I am not fearful that there will be a second Holocaust, I declare here that there will be no second Holocaust. There will be no second Holocaust, but not because there is a different Germany, not because there is a different Europe. For 70 years, thank God, we have had an independent Jewish state. We have a state, but not because of the Holocaust. The Zionist movement began 40 years before the Holocaust. What delayed the establishment of the state was the Holocaust.”
Hagoel added that the movement will work to strengthen Diaspora Jews and to encourage them to continue to to be proud Jews. “Only in this way will we beat the current wave of antisemitism in Europe,” he said.
Also addressing the crowd, Betar-Eliran Gapso, head of the movement’s national leadership, said: "We will not forget that there was no one to protect the Jews of The Hague, Geneva and Oslo, and we will not overlook the fact that the same tyrants and murderers from there, are today haters of Israel.”