KKL-JNF Germany Mission

This charming site nestles at the heart of the small Giv‘at Ye‘arim community and includes a viewing platform that overlooks a magnificent vista of the Judean Hills

October 28, 2010 16:13
4 minute read.

KKL-JNF. (photo credit: KKL-JNF)

KKL-JNF Germany Mission Inaugurated
 A Scenic Lookout and Children's Playground 

A scenic lookout and a children’s playground were inaugurated in Giv‘at Ye‘arim in the Jerusalem Corridor on Thursday, October 21st, at a very touching ceremony attended by the donor, Heinz Hesdorffer, and members of a delegation of Friends of KKL-JNF from Germany.

This charming site nestles at the heart of the small Giv‘at Ye‘arim community and includes a viewing platform that overlooks a magnificent vista of the Judean Hills; a panoramic photograph that enables visitors to see exactly where they are and what they are looking at; benches; a children’s playground; and an embracing circle of olive trees at its perimeter. KKL-JNF emissary to Germany Schaul Chorev said that delegations of both Jews and non-Jews come to Israel every year to improve their knowledge of the country and visit a selection of KKL-JNF projects. The present delegation is here for twelve days, during which it will tour the country from north to south. “When they see the landscapes and meet the people, that’s when they make a strong connection with Israel,” explained Chorev.

Eighty-seven-year-old Heinz Hesdorffer is an Auschwitz survivor, and he has dedicated the Giv‘at Ye‘arim site to the memory of members of his family who were murdered by the Nazis: his mother Johanna, his brother Ernst, his aunt Lina and his cousin Carl. 

At the moving dedication ceremony he thanked KKL-JNF for establishing the site, and said that, although he had lived in the past in Holland, South Africa and the USA, and is today resident in Germany, Israel has always been his homeland. “It’s very important to me to be involved in what’s happening in Israel and to contribute as best I can,” he said. “I hope that a lot of people will come here to visit this wonderful spot just next to Jerusalem.”

The ceremony was also attended by Roni Gluskinos of Jerusalem, who met Hesdorffer for the first time in 1943, in Holland. The two subsequently lost contact with each other until around two years ago, when they began to correspond via the Internet. When he heard that Hesdorffer was coming to Israel, Gluskinos decided at once that they had to meet. “It was important for me to see him face to face, after so many years,” he said.

According to Ilan Levy, Chairman of Giv‘at Ye‘arim’s Development Committee, the lookout and playground represent a significant contribution to the community. Residents and visitors alike will be able to enjoy the landscape in pleasant surroundings, while the garden will provide children with a place to meet and play.  Levy thanked KKL-JNF and its donors warmly for having made the project possible.

After the visit to Giv‘at Ye‘arim the delegation members proceeded to Aminadav Forest, near Jerusalem, where they planted trees. They planted rosemary, oak, almond
and terebinth with their own hands and got down on their hands and knees to fill in the holes. They expressed their pleasure at this opportunity to participate in the afforestation of Israel, and as they read the Planter’s Prayer together, their voices echoes among the trees. Many of them took care to record the precise location of the tree they had planted, and promised to return in the future to see how it was doing.

Marie-Luise Hofmann, who has donated funds for the establishment of a picnic site in Nahal Harod, said that visits to Israel were extremely important to her and that she had already been here several times in the past. “The new site I have helped to create is my blessing upon Israel,” she said. “And thanks to it, I feel that a part of myself remains behind here, even after I leave and go elsewhere.”

Zeev Goldreich donated an area of woodland within the German States’ Forest in southern Israel. Although he was born and brought up in Israel, he now lives in Stuttgart in Germany, and takes part in KKL-JNF delegations on a regular basis. “I’m still involved in Zionist activities, even though I no longer live in Israel,” he said. Every time I come here I’m delighted to see how the country is progressing and developing.”

Katja Tsafrir, head of the delegation and office manager of KKL-JNF Munich, said that at the conclusion of their visit to Israel the delegation members will go back to their country of residence, where they will become ambassadors for KKL-JNF and give other members of their communities a first-hand report on what is happening in Israel.  

For Articles, comments or use please contact
 Ahuva Bar-Lev
KKL-JNF – Information and Publications
Email: ahuvab@kkl.org.il 
 Phone: 972-2-6583354 Fax:972-2-6583493

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