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Liv Ulman Visits Israel

December 11, 1980
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— Israel tends to be blase about outpourings of support from visiting celebrities There are so many celebrities – and their enthusiasm so often seems to wane once they leave the country.

The visit here of Norwegian film and stage star Liv Ullman, which ended Tuesday, seems to have been a notable exception. She captivated her audiences, and the broader Israeli public, with her emotional but obviously sincere professions of deep identification with the Jewish State.

Ullman come to Israel as the guest of Hadassah, accompanied by the organization’s new president, Frieda Lewis, to participate in events commemorating the 120th anniversary of the birth of Henrietta Szold, founder of Hadassah.

At the gala banquet held at the Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus, Ullman song in Yiddish a Chanukah song which she had originally sung at the age of 18, in her first major stage role, that of Anne Frank. Before her first song, she told the guests, “I will probably be so moved that I will cry by the time I each the second line, so please help me.”

Sure enough, her voice broke with tears but the audience joined in the song, some in Yiddish and some in Hebrew, and Ms. Ullman recovered to finish it. Then she and Mrs. Lewis linked hands and led the guests in a hora that wove its way between the tables.

Presenting Ms. Ullmann with the Henrietta Szold Silver Medal and a scroll, Mrs. Lewis said: “Liv Ullman talked to us in the language of the heart. This mission has been lit for us by this incandescent woman, whom we will always remember and cherish.”

Deeply moved, Ullman replied, “I didn’t expect this thank you, thank you for making me a member of the Hadassah family and of Israel. Whatever I do in my life, I promise you that I will wear this medal and I will remember.”


Earlier, Ms. Ullmann and Mrs. Lewis accompanied the mission on a visit to the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, where they visited the children’s department, Ms. Ullman went from bed to bed giving every child a Chanukah present, a radiant smile and a hand with which to play. She spoke to the parents of the sick children. In the Hadassah Hospital parents are allowed to be with the children by day and, nights. All the children and parents alike responded to her warm personality.

At the Yod Vashem, Holocaust Memorial, Ms. Ullmann laid a wreath to the fallen and kindled the eternal light. Slowly they made their way through the museum of man’s inhumanity to man. Ms. Ullman, who was devastated by what she saw, commented:

“The last words that Anne Frank wrote in her diary as she looked through the little window that gave her only glimpse of the world and she heard the footsteps of the soldiers coming to take her away, were, somewhere there is good in every human being.”

Continuing, Ms. Ullmann said that Anne Frank was 15 years old at the time. “When we look at what” was done to the Jews and think of what happened to Anne Frank, it is hard to believe this, and yet I do cherish the belief,” she said.

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