Jerusalem (Jun. 23)
A massive four-day gathering of more than 10,000 Holocaust survivors from all over the world ended during the weekend in front of the Western Wall with a testament that they would never forget the Nazi genocide.
The testament was read in six languages — Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, English, French and Russian –by six survivors, residents of Israel, Australia, the United States and France.
The testament included the following vow: “In the name of dead parents and children … never to let the memory of the six million be erased … We take this oath to be handed down from father to son, from mother to daughter, from generation to generation … remember what the German killers and their accomplices did to the Jewish people … Remember what an indifferent world did to us. Remember the kindnesses of the Righteous Gentiles. We shall also remember the miracle of the rebirth in the land of our ancestors of the State of Israel.”
The Testament was signed by all participants on 36 long sheets of parchment. It was deposited in the Yad Vashem.
Five children of survivors responded in five of the six languages. As a symbol of the plight of Soviet Jewry, no second generation Russian Jew responded.
“We are the first generation born after the darkness,” they said, pledging to repeat and hand down the story of their parents, to support Israel, and to further Jewish culture and education. Each of the six survivors lit a memorial torch on a candelabrum.
Premier Menachem Begin told the throng that “Israel will never allow an enemy to develop weapons of mass destruction to be used against the Jewish people — never again.” He urged the guests from abroad to come on aliya, noting the fate of Europe’s Jews who had remained in their native lands until it was too late.
Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek, who spoke in Hebrew, Yiddish and English, said he had not remembered any event since the reunification of Jerusalem “that says so much to the Jewish people” as the assemblage of the survivors in Israel.