Ghetto survivor shocked at Yad Vashem graffiti

Matityahu Droblas expresses shock, defiance at Yad Vashem vandalism: "We will continue to live, whether or not they want it.”

June 12, 2012 02:06
1 minute read.
Warsaw Ghetto survivor views Yad Vashem vandalism

Warsaw Ghetto survivor views Yad Vashem vandalism 370. (photo credit: Hadas Parush)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

When Matityahu Droblas was a boy during the Holocaust, hiding out in the forests of Poland, he sometimes believed that he was the last Jew alive.

“The Poles told me that the Germans killed all the Jews,” he remembered on Monday, at Yad Vashem.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Droblas escaped the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942 and survived by wandering through the Polish countryside. Some days death seemed like it would be better than staying alive, he said.

Droblas harbored one dream during those years of wandering: To come to Palestine, a place where Jews once had their own land.

Droblas realized that dream, came to Israel, served as a member of Knesset (from 1972- 1977), and headed the Settlement Division of the Jewish Agency (1978-1992), during which he oversaw the creation of 380 towns across Israel. Today, he is as a member of Yad Vashem’s board.

Standing in the hot sun on Monday in front of the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial at Yad Vashem, which had been defaced by vandals hours earlier with virulently anti-Zionist messages, Droblas, 81, was in shock. His voice shook and there were tears in his eyes as he tried to make sense of the terrible act of vandalism, which police believe was carried out by extremist haredim.

“The Warsaw Ghetto is a symbol of the Jewish nation, a symbol of uprising, a symbol of freedom,” he said. “I don’t know who did this, but without being a psychiatrist I can say they’re not normal, we need to isolate them so they won’t harm society anymore.”

Droblas said he desperately wanted to believe that the vandalism was not carried out by a Jew.

One slogan read: “To the respectable government of Poland, stop allowing the Zionists to conduct manipulative commemorations at Auschwitz.” It was signed “World Haredi Judaism.”

“In Israel, there are 200,000 Holocaust survivors,” said Droblas. “But these acts aren’t just against those 200,000 people, they are against the entire country.

Am Yisrael Chai – The nation of Israel lives. We will continue to live, whether or not they want it.”

Related Content

August 31, 2014
Rioting resumes throughout east Jerusalem Saturday night