AN ISRAELI DELEGATION attends Sunday’s memorial for Poles who were killed by the Nazis for saving Jews, in Torun, Poland. From left, Jonny Daniels, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, Communications Minister Ayoub Kara, Deputy Knesset Speaker Hilik Bar and former MK Dov Lipman..
(photo credit: LAURA BEN-DAVID)
Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, Communications Minister Ayoub Kara, and Zionist Union MK Hilik Bar took part at an event in Torun, Poland, on Sunday honoring righteous Poles who endangered their lives to save Jews in the Holocaust.
Bar, who heads the Israel- Poland parliamentary friendship caucus, lost two-thirds of his mother’s family in the Holocaust. His grandfather Ya’acov Kotovsky Pedahtsur, who lived in Poland, survived the war.
“What is more honorable than endangering yourself for someone who is not connected to you and is not even the same religion?” Bar asked a crowd that included Polish ministers and parliamentary members. “The courageous Poles we honor today risked their lives, and many of them were killed. Courage is not merely a lack of fear Courage can also be to fear and yet still do the right thing. That is what these righteous Poles did.”
Bar said his participation at the event was proof of the Nazis’ failure to destroy the entire Jewish people.
“The significance of Israel’s existence is to tell the world ‘Never again,’” he told the crowd. “Never again will Jews be pursued and murdered, never again will Jews hide and have no ability to defend themselves. Never again will Jews have to rely on others to defend them.”
Bar, who heads the Knesset’s two-states for two peoples caucus, told the Poles that the people of Israel want peace with the Palestinians.
“If they want to live alongside us, we have to try to reach peace with them,” he said. “But if they want to live instead of us, they must be told that it will never happen and Israel is here to stay.”
The event was organized by the organization From the Depths, which aims to preserve the memory of the Holocaust, to give a name to those who were brutally murdered, and to continue the message to the next generations of those who survived.
“This is one of the most meaningful diplomatic experiences I have ever had,” said former MK Dov Lipman, who took part in the event.
“In one afternoon we met with a large number of Polish ministers who were truly touched by our making the trip and paying tribute to the righteous Poles. This opened the door for meaningful and concrete action-oriented discussion about supporting Israel at the UN, fighting antisemitism and combating BDS.”