NEW YORK (Apr. 17)
Minister-Without-Portfolio Gideon Hausner today declared that because of the Holocaust Jews have the right-to ask the United States to make “Israel ever stronger, ever more secure.” He said that for that reason Israel must speak out, too, against the “arming of Israel’s enemies by the United States,” an apparent reference to reports that the U.S. will supply arms to Egypt.
Hausner, who was the prosecutor of Adolf Eichmann in Israel, spoke in Temple Emanu-El at the 34th annual commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising sponsored by the Warsaw Ghetto Resistance Organization (WAGRO) in conjunction with major Jewish organizations. The ceremony, which was also a memorial service for the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust, was attended by 2500 persons in the main sanctuary and seen by another 1500 on closed circuit television in other halls of the temple. It was also piped by loudspeakers outside to persons standing on Fifth Avenue.
Noting that the world, including the Western democracies, stood by while Jews were murdered, Hausner declared. “I therefore call upon the leaders of this great country and say to them: the wrong that was committed by mankind at large–with varying degrees of moral responsibility–against the Jews, has not been put right. Only a strong and secure Jewish State–the country of the survivors–can constitute some form of moral consolation for the bestial crime against the Jewish people.”
Hausner said that after six million persons died in the Holocaust, “all the Jews have, today, is that one small country, which, by the grace of God, was saved from Hitler’s clutches. That small country–Israel–is still threatened. We enjoy no peace. We have the right to ask that the leaders of the United States make Israel ever stronger, ever more secure, until peace with security is finally accomplished. This is not a matter of political favor. It is an imperative of supreme moral conscience and the acid test of human morality.”
CENTRAL THEME OF CEREMONY
The central theme of today’s ceremony was not only to remember the Holocaust but to pass its story on to succeeding generations. Benjamin Meed, president of WAGRO and the chairman of the commemoration ceremony, said that Jews must see to it that “our future generations” know “our tragic and heroic past.”
Mayor Abraham Beame said “We must make sure that our children and grandchildren” do not forget the heroism of the Warsaw Ghetto and the tragedy of the Holocaust. He said while Jews are safe in the United States, they must continue to fight for their rights here, for the rights of Soviet Jews and for the right of the Jewish homeland to exist in peace and security. Gov. Hugh Carey also called for continuing the remembrance of the Holocaust. “Our children cannot forget, for society can permit such horrors to happen again.” he declared.
This theme was dramatically demonstrated when six survivors of Nazi death camps, accompanied by six children of Holocaust survivors, lit candles symbolizing the six million dead. Earlier, women survivors of the Holocaust lit memorial candles and later there was a memorial candle procession by the Ramaz School choir. Misha Raitzin, a Soviet emigre now with the Metropolitan Opera, sang ghetto songs. When Cantor Paul Zim sang the traditional El Mole Rachamim, many men and women wept.
CARTER PAYS TRIBUTE
President Carter also sent a message which said in part: “The magnificent courage shown by Warsaw’s embattled Jewish community in the face of certain annihilation by the overwhelming forces of totalitarianism represents a victory of the human spirit which will always be remembered. Our best tribute to those heroic men, women and children is our own dedication to the hard work of building a lasting peace in a world where hatreds still must be overcome and human rights must be defended and strengthened.”
Simcha Dinitz, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, read messages from Israeli President Ephraim Katzir and former Premier Golda Meir. Mrs. Meir declared that “the command of the six million to us is that we must make the Jewish State so strong that Jews will never, ever be helpless again.”
As part of the Holocaust Day observance, a poster exhibition entitled “The Holocaust: 1933-45″ assembled by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith will be shown at the Jewish Museum here through April 24. The 20-poster exhibition describes pictorially and in text Jewish life in Europe prior to the Holocaust, the rise of Nazi Germany, persecution of the Jews, Jewish resistance, concentration camps, liberation of survivors and the Nuremberg trials. The exhibit will be shown later in other cities in the United States, West Germany, England, Italy, Israel and other countries.
Among the other observances today, the Boston area climaxed a week-long series of programs with a Community Service of Remembrance at Temple Kehillath Israel, sponsored by the Holocaust Memorial Committee of the Jewish Community Council and the New American Association of Greater Boston, and a daylong conference on the “Holocaust and Rescue” at Brandeis University. The Hillel chapter, which has sponsored daily remembrance events since April 14, will also have programs dealing with the Holocaust through Wednesday.
In New Haven, Connecticut, ground was broken today for what was said to be the country’s first permanent public memorial for the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust. The memorial, a raised Star of David with a symbolic fence of iron and simulated barbed wire, was initiated by Mayor Frank Logue after a visit to Yad Vashem in Israel. The monument, the first to be sponsored by a government body, was planned with the cooperation of the New Haven Jewish Federation and the Mayor’s Holocaust Memorial Committee.
Some 1500 persons gathered at Toronto’s Beth Tzedec Synagogue over the weekend to hear Howard Roiter, a professor at the University of Montreal remind them of the record of the United States and Canadian governments in not admitting refugees from Hitler’s Germany in the 1930s. Also addressing the event sponsored by the Canadian Jewish Congress was Ontario Attorney General Roy McMurtry.