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The 2015 National Assembly: “The Sun Shines Once Again”

This year the Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day assembly of the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum, commemorated 70 years to the end of the war. Every year since 1949 the ceremony thousands of residents of the region, heads of state, public figures, ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps, as well as officers of the Israel Defense Forces, attend.

The song “The Sun Shines Once Again” is played at the end of Natan Gross’s film “We Who Remain” (in Yiddish, “Mir Lebn Geblibene”). It is a poignant documentary about Holocaust survivors and the rehabilitation of Jewish cultural and educational life in Poland after World War II. It provided the inspiration for the name of this year’s assembly. Dr. Anat Livne, general director of the Ghetto Fighter’s House Museum, opened the assembly with a verse from Abba Kovner’s poem:

On that day the remnant came out: two from a city, one from a village.
A woman and her child came out of a bunker under the ruins.
A man came out of a sewer. Surivors came out of the forests of the partisans.
The rescued came out of Auscwitz. In Europe the sun was shining – and the world was back on its course.
They stood among heap of ashes, a flaming stone in their hearts…"
(Abba Kovner, "The Candle of Anonymity").

Unlike the liberated Europeans, the day of liberation was not a happy occasion for the Jews but rather a day of sorrow and loss. Yitzhak (Antek) Zuckerman wrote, “That day, January 17, was the saddest day of my life. I wanted to cry, not out of joy but grief. I am not saying I cried, but that I wanted to — that was a first. The kissing tank crews, the flowers thrown at them, the joy of the masses, the sense of freedom and redemption, and us — me and Zivia and the dog — standing in the crowd alone, orphaned, the last, knowing very well that the Jewish people is no more.”

During the assembly a window was opened to the world of the survivors at the moment of liberation and followed the amazing way they coped with the many difficulties on their journey back to life, a journey full of obstacles, disappointments and a persistent struggle for their right to build a new life in a country where persecution like the one they had gone through during the war could not take place.


 

As every year, six torches were lit in memory of the six million Jews that perished.  As well,  a wreath was placed for the memory of the Righteous Among the Nations, the “Yizkor” was read by Hilik Bogomolski from the Ghetto Fighters’ Kibbutz, and Noam Rachmilevitch, a staff member of the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum archives, read “A warrior’s image,” in memory of Tuvia Borzykovski, one of the rebels of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and co-founder of the Museum and the kibbutz.
The guest of honor for the assembly was Isaac Herzog, chairman of the Labour party, who shared stories of his father Chaim Herzog, the sixth president of the State of Israel, and one of the liberators of Bergen-Belsen and his grandfather, Rabbi Yitzhak Herzog.

Speakers included Ophir Pines-Paz, chairman of the board of directors of the Ghetto Fighters' House Museum; Israel Yoram, head of the Mateh Asher regional council; and Dr. Anat Livne, general director of the Ghetto Fighters' House Museum. The wreath for the Righteous Among the Nations was laid by Orna Shurani's daughter — Orna. Shurani rescued, together with her mother and sisters, dozens of Jews that were held in a labor camp near the Suranyi family's home in Czechoslovakia. The singer Ivri Lider gave a touching performance, singing two songs dedicated to his mother Dalia, who was been hidden by a Christian family in Poland during the Holocaust.

Torchlighters 2015

 

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