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Paying Tribute to Holocaust Survivors

                      

Commencing with the unnerving but poignant sounding of the siren, Telfed hosted a Yom Hashoah ceremony to mark Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day in Israel on Thursday 12 April 2018.  The moving ceremony, attended by a holocaust survivor, followed the theme chosen by Yad Vashem: '70 years of Remembering and Building: Holocaust Survivors and the State of Israel'. This year, the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel was echoed in memorial services around the country as we paid tribute to the contribution of Holocaust survivors to the building of the State of Israel.

The ceremony was led by Telfed CEO Dorron Kline, and attended by members of the public, Telfed staff and volunteers. Six candles were lit by Telfed volunteers in memory of the six million Jewish lives lost during the Second World War.  Following the lighting of each candle, excerpts relating to the theme were read. It was a powerful and heartfelt ceremony. The Holocaust is a fundamental part of who we are as a nation and Holocaust survivors played an invaluable role in the founding of memorials and institutions that would serve as a reminder of the atrocities committed and the desecration of life; an eternal reminder that this should never happen again. Survivors were instrumental in the founding of Yad Vashem (in 1953) and in the adoption of Yom Hashoah as a national day of remembrance (in 1959).

Survivors needed a place to call home, and they were steadfast in their commitment to Israel.  The initial arrivals after the Second World War were highly regarded for their unmatched integration and participation in society. They joined the ranks of those fighting for the new state, first by enlisting in the Haganah, Palmach, Etzel and Lehi. During the War of Independence in 1948, survivors accounted for approximately half of the newly established IDF. Their new home, with a Jewish identity, was a cause worth fighting for.  And beyond the battlefields, their contributions to society were felt in all spheres of life – from the arts to the sciences, from authors to athletes.

Holocaust survivor Leyb Rochman wrote: 'the cup of despair now contains drops of comfort… I have lived [in Israel] for nearly 25 years, and I can attest to my own restoration… Perhaps only those who feel the great pain of the past can fathom what we have accomplished here, what we have been privileged to attain'.

 

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