KKL-JNF and B’nai B’rith mark heroism of Jewish Rescuers during Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony 

May 3, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The B’nai B’rith World Centre in Jerusalem and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) have held a unique joint Holocaust commemoration ceremony on Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah).

Mr. Alan Schneider Director of B’nai B’rith; Marcel Strenberg, son of Joseph Strenberg, and his sister Rachel Kahan; KKL-JNF World Chairman Daniel Atar; Chairman of the Committee for the Recognition of Jews who Rescued Jews During the Holocaust Haim Roet; B’nai B’rith Chairman Dr. Haim V. Katz Photo: Avi Hayun, KKL-JNF Public Diplomacy Division

For its 17th consecutive year, the ceremony took place at the B’nai B’rith and KKL-JNF Martyr’s Forest “Scroll of Fire” Plaza,

This is the only event dedicated annually to commemorating the heroism of Jews who rescued fellow Jews during the Holocaust. Jerusalem-area schools and pre-army preparatory academies attended the ceremony together with Jewish rescuers and survivors, and the IDF Border Patrol provided an honour guard.

This year’s ceremony was dedicated to rescue efforts undertaken by the Jewish Defense Committee (CDJ). Speakers in the ceremony included: Mr. Daniel Atar, KKL-JNF World Chairman; Dr. Haim V. Katz, Chairman of the B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem and it’s Director, Mr Alan Schneider; Brigadier General Yehuda Yehoshua, Commander of the Border Guard Combat Training Center; H.E. Olivier Belle, Ambassador of Belgium to Israel; and Michel Werber, son of CDJ founding members Abusz and Shifra Werber.

During the ceremony, H. E. Ambassador Belle expressed that, “it is a great honour for Belgium and for me to take part in such a unique ceremony. Since, though throughout the years many spoke of those who opposed the Nazis, often forgotten is that Jews also fought this evil in many countries. Even in Belgium, brave Jewish citizens stood up to help their brothers and disrupt the Nazis’ plans. Their mission was heroic and must not be ignored, and for that, we salute these warriors in the shadows with the utmost respect.”

KKL-JNF World Chairman Daniel Atar said that “We must stand strong in the face of Anti-Semitism and guarantee the safety of all Jews around the world. Only the state of the Jewish people, strong and prosperous, will ensure that such atrocities never happen again. The heroes who fought to save their Jewish brothers from the horrors are an example of Jewish solidarity and the value that ‘all people of Israel are committed to one another’.”

B’nai B’rith Chairman Dr Haim V. Katz said that “The Jewish Defense Committee in Belgium saved thousands of Jewish children throughout the war and provided lifesaving assistance to 10,000 adults. Jews from all walks of life came together with a mission to save their brothers. The lesson is that the state of Israel is not to be taken for granted, and it is up to us to continue to look out for our country and its wellbeing.”

The phenomena of Jewish rescue and the instructive stories of thousands of Jews who laboured to save their endangered brethren throughout Europe have yet to receive appropriate public recognition and resonance. Many who could have tried to flee preferred to stay and rescue others; some paid for it with their lives. With great heroism, Jews in every country in occupied Europe employed subterfuge, forgery, smuggling, concealment and other methods to ensure that Jews survived the Holocaust, or assisted them in escaping to safe havens, and in doing so foiled the Nazi goal of total genocide against the Jews. The organizers of the ceremony view it as especially important to expose Jewish youth to these narratives as a model for Jewish solidarity and courage.

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