Grapevine: Goldin’s letter

Hadar Goldin, who was killed in 2014 in Operation Protective Edge, had written an emotional letter to his parents while on a visit to Poland.

Sec.-Lt. Hadar Goldin. (photo credit: Courtesy)
Sec.-Lt. Hadar Goldin.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE Day and Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars are a week apart on the calendar and only three years apart in history. Only in 1945 did Jews around the world begin to realize the enormity of the tragedy that had befallen the Jewish people, and only in 1948 was there such an entity as an Israeli army, many of whose soldiers fell in battle in the War of Independence. Among those soldiers were Holocaust survivors who had emerged from the camps as little more than skeletons. Whereas they had prayed at camp selection lines not to be included among those destined for death, in Israel they were proud to risk their lives for their country.
Hadar Goldin, who was killed in 2014 in Operation Protective Edge, had written an emotional letter to his parents while on a visit to Poland, where he also went to concentration and extermination camps. While in Auschwitz, he wrote the following letter, which was read out this week during the March of the Living in which his parents participated as part of the IDF delegation:
“Mom and Dad, I’m sitting in the corner of a train car in Poland. I don’t know how many kids like me, and people similar and different to me, were transported in this car – but they were all Jews – torn from their homes and their families, from their parents and children, without knowing where they were being sent or where they were going. But I want to tell you that thanks to you, I know where I’m going.
“I’m going to the State of Israel – my country and ours. And I understand, thanks to you, what my country gives me, but mostly what I need to give of myself to the country. And when I look inwards, I know I have the strength to give above all. It’s to represent my country and ours abroad, in Charleston and in Cambridge, at school and as part of the community. To be honorable, respectable and wise. To be good where others are not! To be a decent human being, as you always say. With friends, at school, to succeed and be the best I can possibly be. To represent and defend my country in the IDF with a rifle, and before and after the army with a different kind of weapon. And always with the tools you’ve given me.
“Mom and Dad, I wanted to say thank you. Dad, thank you for building me up and helping me to build myself up, and for your constant guidance, wisdom and teaching. Mom! Thank you because, every time I lose something of myself, you help me find it by picking me up, helping me rise instead of fall. For your constant care, your never-ending support and your loving prayers I thank you. I am constantly learning from you two.
“Everything I see here in Poland takes me back to you, to my grandmothers, to [my siblings] Zur and Ayelet and Chemi, and the thought that leaves its mark on me is that I, and Zur and all of us are the walking triumph of the Jewish people. This is a grand mission that I am willing to take upon myself. This is probably because, from the moment I was born, you’ve instilled this mission in me. This is thanks to you.”
Although Goldin may now symbolize the connection between the two memorial days, the presence each year at the March of the Living of an IDF unit has always symbolized the connection and the difference between resisting the enemy from a point of weakness to resisting from a point of strength. At the beginning of next week, most of the people who were this week in Auschwitz-Birkenau, the eternal memorial to atrocities committed against the Jewish people, will come together again in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people to remember and honor those who paid the supreme sacrifice and to celebrate the reason for that sacrifice.
AFTER ALL the negative publicity that Beitar Jerusalem and its fans have received in recent years, there is cause for joy in relation to two of its former star players. Uri Malmillian considered to be Israel’s greatest soccer player of all time, will be among the beacon lighters on Independence Day, and Eli Ohana is reportedly on his way back to the team as manager if team owner Eli Tabib has his way.