Warsaw Ghetto fighters 311.
(photo credit: Isaac Harari/Knesset)
The Knesset honored heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising on Tuesday, in a
ceremony initiated by MK Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi).
Reuven Rivlin and Yad Vashem chairman Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau distributed 26
certificates to fighters in the uprising and the families of their comrades who
Rochi Narkis represented the families of fighters who survived
the Holocaust, but passed away since.
She expressed outrage that this was
the first time in the 63 years since the state was established, that the Warsaw
Ghetto Uprising heroes were honored in the Knesset.
One fighter, Simha
“Kajik” Rotem, boycotted the ceremony, Narkis said.
“Where was the world
during the Holocaust? That was their feeling and their question, which they
continued to ask in the State of Israel,” she said. “How is it that don’t they
recognize us?” “The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising is a symbol of courage in the time of
the Holocaust. I haven’t done even 1 percent of what these heroes did, and I am
honored to speak in their name, and say thank you to the handful of people who
did something, planned this event, and recognized the fighters,” Narkis
“I had the privilege of serving in the IDF as an officer and a
fighter, but I am not a hero,” Rivlin said. “I never stopped a tank with a
Molotov cocktail, and I did not fight empty-handed in alleys and the sewage
“I am not a hero, but I know how to appreciate heroism,” he said.
“Those with the courage to fight the evil Nazi empire are the real
“From the time of the State of Israel’s establishment, our
fighters have been inspired by those who dared to rebel in the heart of the Nazi
empire at the height of its power. Their rebellion put fear in the hearts of SS
soldiers, who hesitated to walk the streets of Warsaw,” Rivlin said.
afraid that we remembered the heroism, but forgot the heroes,” the Knesset
Speaker said, praising Orbach for his initiative.
“We are here for our
children and our grandchildren, who should know that the Knesset remembers,”
Orbach said. “This certificate is not for [the fighters], it is for
“If we could, we’d give every citizen in Israel a certificate that
says ‘You must remember’ – every young person and soldier needs to know,” about
the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the MK said. “These fighters are heroes of the
Jewish people and all of humanity.”
Lau, who survived Buchenwald, said
that although the Warsaw Ghetto was not the only uprising during the Holocaust,
it became “a symbol and a myth.” “In the 68 years since the uprising, the legend
has grown,” he said.
The Tel Aviv chief rabbi added: “We do not know who
all the fighters were, and we never will, but Yad Vashem is making every effort
possible to spread the story of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and its
Their light should shine on the masses in Israel.”