The Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs on Monday launched the Hebrew translation of a book titled “Evacuation – Memories of Childhood Scorched by Fire of the Holocaust,” which was originally written in Russian and contains the memoirs of Jews who fled to the Soviet Union in WW2.
The book, titled “Holocaust Refugees” in Hebrew, was published by the Israeli Association of Immigrant Scientists, with assistance from the Claims Conference. The Hebrew version of the book was published with support from the Genesis Philanthropy Group.
Committee Chairman MK Avraham Naguisa (Likud) noted that the book describes the difficult experiences of 100,000 Jews from the Soviet Union who were forced to give up their property while fleeing the Nazis during the Holocaust.
“Israeli society is not sufficiently aware of the Russian Jewry’s suffering during World War Two,” said Naguisa, who is Ethiopian. “This part of the history of the Jewish people has not yet been covered in the Israeli education system, and the publication of this book may expose it to future generations.”
MK Yoel Razvozov (Yesh Atid) said “Holocaust refugees are not recognized enough – in society, with regards to compensation, and also in our consciousness and education. This meeting expresses gratitude for these people and recognition of the suffering they endured and the heroism they displayed.”
MK Tali Ploskov (Kulanu) said the book “must be made available in every public and school library, and the chronicles of these refugees must be included in the school curriculums.” Ploskov called on the government to support organizations that help Holocaust refugees.
Former Minister of Immigration and Absorption Sofa Landver (Yisrael Beitenu) spoke of her experiences in a refugee camp in Poland and said the book “is part of the history of the Jewish people and is designated for the next generation – so that it will recognize how and by virtue of who the state was established.”
Avraham Sharnopolsky of the Hazit Hakavod (“Front of Respect”) organization and one of the book’s writers, said most of the writers were children at the time of the Holocaust. “They kept silent for many years due to the severe trauma,” he said, while mentioning that his family fled to Uzbekistan in a cattle car, and lived “on very small food rations.”
Masha Yonin, director of the archival acquisition department at Yad Vashem, said that during the war some 2.8 million Jews were murdered in the Nazi occupied Soviet Union territory, while 1.5 million managed to flee.