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Mrs. Meir Urges Nation to Recall Heroic Spirit of Ghetto Fighters

April 19, 1974
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Premier Golda Meir called on the nation last night to remember the spirit of the Jewish ghetto fighters and forest partisans in the fight against the Nazis. “I am not ashamed to say this: the people of Israel on its land sometimes needs to be reminded of the spirit of the ghetto fighters,” she said at the official Holocaust Day ceremony at Yad Vashem Memorial Institute here. Her address was carried live by the radio. The Nazi aim–and indeed the aim of all the persecutors of Jews through history–had been not just to destroy the body, but to crush the spirit, to obliterate the Jew’s self-dignity in his own eyes, she said.

Because of the bravery of the ghetto fighters and partisans, and the way in which the victims of Nazism went to their deaths, this aim had been foiled, Mrs. Meir stated. The unbreakable spirit that had permeated the Jews of Europe during the Nazi persecution had inspired the small Jewish yishuv in Palestine to fight its own enemies and overcome them, she declared, and the Palestinian Jews’ spirit had conversely encouraged and inspired the ghetto fighters. On this Holocaust Day, Israel would do well to recall not only the terrible slaughter of one-third of its people–but also the spirit of those who resisted, she added.

The shadow of Kiryat Shemona and of the Yom Kippur War hung heavily over the ceremony–as they will hang over the marking of Remembrance Day (Independence Day eve) next week. (See separate story.)


Bitterly. Mrs. Meir spoke of the efforts of Israel’s friends at the United Nations to obtain a balanced resolution which would treat equally the cold-blooded Kiryat Shemona butchers of 18 men, women and children and the Israeli soldiers raid against the Lebanese villages who had faithfully followed orders to vacate the houses of the alders and abettors of the killers before blowing them up. Mrs. Meir said she shuddered to think of what would have happened had the school, which the three terrorists first attacked, been full of little children and not empty because of the Passover vacation.

The fact that this school is named after Dr. Janus Korczak, and the fact that it is situated in “Yehuda Halevi Street” in Kiryat Shemona, were cited by Minister Gideon Hausner, chairman of Yad Vashem, to illustrate the deeper meaning of Jewish history and rebirth. The great medieval “Zionist” poet and the brave ghetto leader of Jewish children whose experiences gave him the deepest insight into Jewish-fated history had come together, over a gap of 800 years to declare that Jews would not be broken by the Nazis or by their successors, Hausner said.

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren also recalled the spirit of the partisans which, he said, was now embodied in Israel’s army and in its new commander, Mordechai Gur, a native of Jerusalem and a great Jewish fighter. (By David Landau.)

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