Yair Lapid on Holocaust Remembrance Day: ‘The Jewish State is the future and Mauthausen is a museum’

January 30, 2022 by TPS
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Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid made a special visit to the Mauthausen Concentration Camp in Austria to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is held on the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz. He was joined by the Chancellor of Austria, Karl Nehammer.

Yair Lapid at Mauthausen Concentration Camp Photo by Shlomi Amsalem/GPO on 27 January, 2022

Also in attendance were Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, Austrian Interior Minister Gerhard Karner, and the President of the local Jewish Community, Oskar Deutsch.

Minister Lapid said the Mourner’s Kaddish (a prayer for the dead) and laid a wreath on behalf of the Israeli government. The Minister also lit a candle in the Room of Names in memory of his grandfather, Bela Lampel who was murdered there and in memory of all who perished at Mauthausen.

Mauthausen was a Nazi concentration camp located in the Austrian market town of that name. It also had a number of smaller camps spread out over Austria. An estimated 190,000 people were imprisoned in the Mauthausen concentration camp and its subcamps over its seven years of operation, and at least 90,000 died were murdered there.

The US Army liberated the camp on May 5, 1945, just days before the end of World War II. According to the records, Bela Lampel died the month before that.

“The Nazis thought they were the future, and that Jews would be something you only find in a museum. Instead, the Jewish state is the future, and Mauthausen is a museum,” proclaimed Lapid.

“I came here today to remind the world that Bela Lampel was not a number,” he said. “He was my grandfather. He loved his beautiful wife. He went to football matches with his child. He never wronged anyone. He wasn’t an important man. He didn’t hate anyone. He was simply… Jewish.”

“He sent me here today to say on his behalf, that the Jews have not surrendered. They’ve established a strong, free, and proud Jewish state, and they sent his grandson, to represent them here today.”

Lapid went on to explain that when his grandfather arrived at the camp the German’s already knew that the war was lost, but they continued with the mass murder of Jews anyway. “The mighty machine that was the German Army had collapsed,” he said. “They needed every soldier, every slice of bread, every rifle – and yet, they continued to kill Jews up until the very last moment.”

“Grandpa Bela, a quiet man whose family nickname was ‘Bela the Wise,’ sent me here today to say on his behalf, that the Jews have not surrendered,” continued Lapid. “They’ve established a strong, free, and proud Jewish state, and they sent his grandson, to represent them here today.”

“Rest in peace, grandfather, you won.”

In his speech, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer addressed Minister Lapid, saying, “Dear Yair, I apologize on behalf of the Republic of Austria for the crimes committed here. I apologize that your grandfather was murdered here.”


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