Holocaust Remembrance Day Closing Ceremony at the Ghetto Fighters' House Museum.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
The tree planting ceremony was part of the Chancellor’s visit to Israel, during which he also participated in a number of ceremonies marking Holocaust Heroism and Remembrance Day.
The ceremony took place at the KKL-JNF Grove of Nations
, in the presence of KKL-JNF World Chairman Danny Atar, KKL-JNF Chief of Protocol Andy Michelson, KKL-JNF Germany and Austria Desk Director Yehudit Perl-Strasser, the Austrian Ambassador to Israel Martin Weiss, and the Israeli Ambassador to Austria Talya Lador-Fresher.
Yehudit Perl-Strasser, who facilitated the ceremony, said that “in all cultures, trees are a symbol of hope. Their roots go deep into the earth, and the treetops reach up to heaven. They are very much like people, who stand with their feet on the ground but whose faces look upwards towards the future and who have high aspirations.”
In his remarks at the ceremony, KKL-JNF World Chairman Danny Atar related to the significant timing of the Chancellor’s visit, after the Passover holiday
and near the time of Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day
. “I read that when your mother was only ten years-old, she smuggled food to a Jewish family that was hiding from the Nazis. I have no doubt that as someone who grew up in a home like that, everything you achieved as CEO of the Austrian Federal Railways Company was a fitting expression of the world of values you grew up in. I appreciate the fact that on Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day, you chose to visit Israel and to participate in ceremonies that mark the most difficult and darkest events of our people and of all of humanity. I think that your presence expresses the desire to heal and to find the right way.”
Chancellor Kern identified with Danny Atar’s emotions and words and added: “I think that this moment is especially important as it marks our mutual relationship by planting a tree. I do not take the honor that you are giving me for granted, and I am very grateful and appreciative for this occasion. I am certain that the ties between us will continue to improve. I would like to emphasize that I am a true friend of the Jewish people and your country.”