Inspiring Heroism

Holocaust Remembrance Day in the Forest of the Martyrs

April 27, 2017 17:10
2 minute read.
Holocaust Remembrance Day Closing Ceremony at the Ghetto Fighters' House Museum

Holocaust Remembrance Day Closing Ceremony at the Ghetto Fighters' House Museum. (photo credit: KKL-JNF)

KKL-JNF and B’nai B’rith planted six million trees in the Judean Hills’ Forest of the Martyrs in memory of those who perished in the Holocaust, and every year a ceremony to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day is held in the forest. This year, the theme of the ceremony was the heroism of the Jews who saved children in a nursery in Amsterdam, and a tribute to the memory of the action taken by Walter Süskind and the Jewish nursery staff.

“Today we mourn the six million Jews who were murdered in that dark period of history,” said KKL-JNF World Chairman Danny Atar. “This day also gives us an opportunity to extol the actions and heroic deeds of the thousands of Jews who risked their lives to save their Jewish brethren, despite the many dangers that beset them. These acts of rescue are a source of inspiration and pride for the whole Jewish nation.” 

Other remembrance ceremonies for those who died took place at the same time all over Israel, but this ceremony in the Forest of the Martyrs, which was held under the auspices of KKL-JNF’s Education Division and the B’nai B’rith World Center, is unique in that it is dedicated every year to Jewish rescuers. This year it focused upon the heroism of an Amsterdam nursery’s Jewish rescuers – Walter Süskind and the nursery’s female staff who, together with him, with daring and determination, managed to smuggle hundreds of children into hiding and thus save their lives. 

“This was an unusual collaboration between Jewish and non-Jewish rescuers in the face of the pitiless Nazi murder machine,” said B'nai B'rith World Center Chairman Dr. Haim Katz. “Together they wrote a magnificent chapter in the annals of Jewish and human solidarity.” 

Israeli Border Police who participated in the event reminded those present that, although today we have a strong and independent state of our own, the struggle for its safety is not yet over. “Our young generation of combatants’ untiring determination to ensure the security of the State of Israel, exemplifies our victory over the Nazi foe and declares: ‘Never again!’” said Deputy Commander Shimon Dadon, commander of the Border Police training base. “We shall not forget what was done to our people. We shall always retain our humanity and remain aware of the sufferings of others.” 

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