On Monday, Yad Vashem, the world Holocaust remembrance center, held a ceremony posthumously honoring Joseph and Marie Andries from Belgium as Righteous Among the Nations. Chairman of the Commission for the Designation of Righteous Among the Nations and Supreme Court Justice (ret.) Jacob Türkel presented Dr. Francoise Rampelberg, family member of Joseph and Marie Andries, with the medal and certificate of honor. Holocaust survivor Benno Gerson, and Serge and Stefan Goldberg, sons of the late Anni Goldberg, attended the ceremony.
Extended family members of Benno Gerson and Anni Goldberg were reunited at the ceremony thanks to the efforts of Yad Vashem during the research process for this recognition.
Following the Kristallnacht pogroms of November 1938, Luser-Ludwig and Pepi Gershonowitz decided to leave Germany. They first sent their daughter Anni to the Netherlands, and then followed with their son Benno. Eventually the family settled in Brussels, Belgium.
When the deportations from Belgium began, in 1942, the Gershonowitz family decided to separate from their children in order to save them. Seven-year-old Anni and five-year-old Benno were brought to the home of Joseph and Marie Andries in Anderlecht. On September 24, 1942, Ludwig and Pepi were arrested and deported to Auschwitz, where they perished. Several months later, the Andries family and the children moved to Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, where they remained until the end of the war. Joseph and Marie Andries were childless, and at some point separated. The two children remained with Marie, who continued to care for them lovingly. Benno remembers calling Marie Andries “mamake” (“mother” in Flemish). Life was simple, and Marie sometimes received help from her relatives, the Rampelbergs, who provided her with some additional food.
After the war, contact was established with a relative of the Gershonowitz family in the United States, and in 1947 Anni and Benno left Marie Andries’ home and sailed to New York. In 1983, shortly before Marie Andries passed away, Benno travelled to Belgium and visited his rescuer one last time.
On December 23, 2015, Yad Vashem posthumously recognized Marie and Joseph Andries as Righteous Among the Nations.
Mayors and governors from more than two dozen cities around the world are visiting Israel this week as part of the 31st International Mayors Conference in Jerusalem.
The American Jewish Congress and American Council for World Jewry are acting as hosts for the mayors this year in Israel.
The delegation is set to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and local Israeli municipalities that include Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Nazareth.
Representatives from cities such as Beverly Hills, Miami Beach, Salzburg, Odessa and Lvov are scheduled to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum on Tuesday (Nov. 15).
The mayors will participate in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance, visit the Children’s Memorial and sign the Yad Vashem Guest Book.
During their four-day trip they are set to visit hi-tech, energy and cyber firms, as well as urban development experts, in addition to the Jerusalem Innovation Center, ‘Bezeq Telecom’ and to enjoy a Tel Aviv start-up tour. The officials will meet with Israeli entrepreneurs working in the fields of health, security, water and the environment.
Films from the Holocaust period are filled with haunting images, providing a rare opportunity for researchers to piece together the stories of lives cut brutally short. In today’s digital age, such film footage is particularly compelling and stirring, granting us a glimpse into a living memory of a world that was, and is, no longer.
A groundbreaking conference on the subject, the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI) workshop entitled “Holocaust Archival Footage as a Historical Source: Methodology and Ethics in the Digital Era,” took place this weekend at Yad Vashem.
EHRI is a trans-national project aimed at supporting and promoting improved access to Holocaust documentation scattered across the globe. The workshop, designed especially for experts, convened some 30 top level professionals, providing tools and tips for researchers and historians from Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the US and other countries in utilizing Holocaust-era footage as a historical source. Sessions included newly-discovered footage located at various archives and collections of Holocaust-related material; the unique challenges entailed in locating, collecting and restoring these rare films; and technical and methodological dilemmas of using of source movies.
One of the stories featured at the conference told the tale of David Teitelbaum, an amateur photographer who was born in Wielopole Skrzyńskie, southeastern Poland, in 1891 and later relocated to the United States, where he became a successful businessman. Teitelbaum would return to his hometown almost every year to visit his family, and in 1938, he filmed his trip. In June or July 1939 he traveled to Wielopole again, but only stayed for a short time, sensing that war was imminent. Members of the Teitelbaum, Rappaport and Sartoria families, as well as their neighbors and acquaintances, were likely filmed during that last visit.
Several years ago, this rare color footage depicting Jewish life in the shtetl of Wielopole before the Holocaust was donated to Yad Vashem. With the assistance of relatives (particularly Channa Rachel Helen Glucksman, David Teitelbaum’s niece), Yad Vashem has succeeded in identifying many of the individuals in the film, including a number of sick or elderly Jews who were murdered in an aktion in the town.
Since the film was uploaded to Yad Vashem’s Youtube channel, it has been seen by over 130,000 viewers, many of whom have commented on how deeply moved they were to have caught a glimpse of Jewish life in the town before it was destroyed forever.
The Yad Vashem Archives house hundreds of Holocaust-related films, including raw footage, newsreels, amateur films, propaganda and feature films, and postwar trials. What makes footage so unique is that it contains many layers of information beyond the recorded data – the personal backgrounds of the subjects, the historical context of the events depicted, and even the motivation and ideology of the photographer – all of which may be revealed through painstaking research.
Efrat Komisar, Head of the Film Footage Section at the Yad Vashem Archives and one of the presenters at the workshop, explained the importance of correct usage, critical research and cataloguing of film footage. “These wartime films have a complex nature, stemming, among other things, from the photographers’ intentions in creating the film in the first place. Nevertheless, they are invaluable as original documentation. The films open a window onto the world of their subjects, as well as that of their creators. They supplement information provided by other forms of documentation, as well as priceless visual testimony of people and places before, during and even immediately after the Shoah.
“Historians, researchers and filmmakers alike have an obligation to investigate these precious films thoroughly, and present them to the public together with the most comprehensive and accurate information possible, thus building a more accurate visual memory of the Holocaust,” Komisar continues. “Moving images provide something that other kinds of documentation – written, aural and even still photographs – cannot give: multisensory scenes of people, places and events that depict often very personal accounts in real time. In a way, seeing them almost brings them back to life.”
The Yad Vashem Archives house the most comprehensive collection of Holocaust-era documentation in the world. Documents acquired by Yad Vashem through its many international efforts and cooperative agreements are preserved, cataloged and digitized to ensure accessibility for the public and future generations. For more information on the activity of Yad Vashem’s Archives Division and the vast wealth of information contained in its collections please contact:
Simmy Allen, head of the International Media Section, Communications Division at Yad Vashem. She can be reached at +972-2-644-3412 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, was established in 1953. Located in Jerusalem, it is dedicated to Holocaust commemoration, documentation, research and education.
In the spirit of the upcoming Olympic Games set to open Saturday afternoon in Rio de Janeiro, Yad Vashem is dedicating two online exhibitions to commemorate Jewish and non-Jewish athletes. One Exhibition, “Jews and Sports before the Holocaust: A Visual Retrospective,” utilizes images and artifacts to portray different sporting events and competitions in which Jews participated. The exhibition features photos of Jewish athletes, including champion boxer Victor Perez, the Hapoel Football team from Poland, and the HaKoach Vienna Hockey team, competing at the Bar-Kochba International Sports Games in 1937.
Berlin, Germany, 1937, Hakoach Vienna in a soccer match at the Bar-Kochba international sports games. / Courtesy Juedischen Museum Im Stadtmuseum, Berlin; Yad Vashem Photo Archives
The other online exhibition, “The Game of their Lives,” tells the stories of non-Jewish athletes who have been recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem. The exhibition highlights the inspiring accounts of a dozen brave men and women – most notably the rescue stories of world-renowned Italian cyclist champion Gino Bartali, Slovenian Olympian swimmer Margit Eugénie Mallász, and Czechoslovakian soccer player Martin Uher – which truly embody the Olympics spirit of “social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.”
Jews in prewar Europe excelled in practically every part of society, and not only as scholars and teachers, doctors and lawyers: many were renowned athletes, too. Jews competed in the most coveted sporting competitions throughout Europe, including the Olympics.
Czechoslovakian Jewish girls’ soccer team and their coach, 1930. / Yad Vashem Photo Archives
Sports often served as a bridge between the Jewish and non-Jewish worlds. Friendships and comradely were formed between athletes from these two societies. During the Holocaust, some of these bonds would help save Jews, when non-Jewish athletes bravely risked their own lives to rescue their Jewish compatriots from Nazi persecution. These brave individuals, who stood up against the evil that prevailed at risk to their own lives, would later go on to be recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations.
Following is the address by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the eve (4 May) of Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day:
Distinguished President, Reuven Rivlin, and his wife,
Distinguished guests, and first and foremost our brothers and sisters, the Holocaust survivors who lit the torches of remembrance and hope,
You moved me. My wife and I met with you in my office yesterday. You spoke from your hearts; you told us how you maintained your humanity in the most inhuman conditions; you told us how you held on to life; and how you created a new life here in Israel. It is our duty to ensure that you and all of the Holocaust survivors continue to live your lives in comfort and dignity.
Mr. President, what you said is true. We did not do enough over the years, but in the last few years we have added resources for this and we will continue to do so for one simple reason – because you deserve it. It is your right, not an act of charity. It is a debt owed to you by the State of Israel, and we will pay this debt.
A distinct message came up in our meeting. The tragedy that befell our people must never happen again. Today, in our eternal capital Jerusalem, I reiterate the commitment: There will never be another Holocaust.
What paved the way for the Holocaust? What oiled the wheels of the Nazi death machine? The answer is the lie. Nazi propaganda portrayed the Jews as the source of all evil in the world, poisoners of wells, parasites, the enemies of humanity. The defamation preceded the extermination. The Nazi regime in Germany was defeated 71 years ago, yet anti-Semitism and the lies did not die along with Hitler in his bunker. Because today, millions of people in the Muslim world read and hear horrendous fabrications about the Jewish people. They are told that Jews are the offspring of apes and pigs. They are told that Jews – and I quote – “drink the blood of their enemies in goblets.” These and other lies are spreading in social media, through means of dissemination that Hitler and Goebbels could not have even imagined.
This incitement stems from radical Islam and the Arab world, but in recent years it is joined by no less venomous incitement from the Western world. British members of parliament, Swedish high-ranking officials, French public opinion makers. I have to say that anti-Semitism today is a peculiar matchmaker –the elites who supposedly represent human progress have joined forces with the most sinister, barbaric fanatics on earth who behead people, oppress women, persecute LGBTs, destroy cultural treasures. They have teamed up to propagate the anti-Semitic virus against one target – us, against the State of Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East which upholds values of progress and human dignity.
Their hostility towards Israel has long exceeded legitimate criticism, if that ever existed. This is the total rejection of a state for the Jewish people. While throughout history the anti-Semites depicted Jews as the enemies of humanity, they now present the Jewish state as the enemy of humanity. This lie has no limits.
Only two weeks ago, the UN’s UNESCO agency – and you have to hear this to believe that these things were said – the UNESCO agency resolved that the Temple Mount, Mount Moriah, is in no way linked to the Jewish people. Pay attention to what is happening here. A global organization responsible for preserving history is offhandedly rewriting a basic fact of human history. This is willful ignorance. Even worse – it is an addiction to a lie and its dissemination around the world until it is accepted as fact. This is precisely how Jew haters have acted throughout the ages.
Today they cloak the root cause of the conflict between us and the Palestinian – the refusal to recognize the State of Israel in any borders. They justify the worst violence against us. They say we are responsible for the terrorist attack in Paris. They perceive the victim as the aggressor and the aggressor as the victim.
The Nazis said that the Jews were to blame for everything. Present-day anti-Semites say that Israel is to blame for everything. Many of the fathers of Zionism believed that the source of this perverse hatred of the Jews is our people’s unique circumstance whereby we were homeless and dispersed among the nations. They hoped, and many of them believed, that if the Jews had a state of their own, this hatred towards them would pass from the world.
Distinguished guests, regrettably reality demonstrates that this optimistic assumption of the fathers of Zionism was clearly mistaken. There were those who once thought that Zionism was the cure for anti-Semitism, and today there are those who believe that Zionism is the reason for anti-Semitism. They are also wrong.
The hatred of Jews draws on many and ancient sources, and it will not pass from the world easily. We must do three things to fight it: fight the lie, boost our strength and build our country. There is only one way to fight a lie, and that is to disprove the falsehood and spread the truth. Truth means insisting on historical facts starting with the deep attachment of our people to our country. Truth means denunciating the double standard applied to the State of Israel and only to the State of Israel. We must mobilize to spread the truth with the same fervor as our enemies mobilize to spread the lie.
We must all join this battle. And here is another fact: in today’s virtual world, it is easy to use the most advanced technology to spread the most ancient hatred. But the same technology can be used to spread the truth too, and this technology can be found in the pockets of each and every one of you. All of you have the electronic device needed to spread the truth in your pockets and in your homes. Many Jews are already doing this in Israel and around the world, and I call on you, members of modern humanity, to join us in our efforts to ward off the lies. Because, as Herzl predicted and as the rise of Nazism proved, anti-Semitism is disastrous for the Jews, but will eventually wreak havoc on all humanity, and therefore we must all fight it.
While we fight for the truth, we must also continue to build our defenses. Because even if we cannot eradicate this hatred of the Jews, we can curb the murderous attacks on us, and to this end we are diligently enhancing our military might. For many generations we were like a driven leaf, powerless, defenseless, but that is no longer the case.
The IDF is one of the strongest armies in the world, not only because of the tanks, planes, submarines and cyber, but largely because of the courage of our soldiers. Here they stand before us, and with them, standing shoulder to shoulder are all of our defense forces – the police, the Shin Bet, Mossad. They are inspired by the Jews who fought the Nazis in the allied forces, in the ghettoes, the camps and the woods.
We have learned the lesson. We do not ignore those who call for our destruction and we are not deterred by them. There are those who choose to overlook the intentions of Iran, who etches on its missiles “Israel must be wiped out,” and holds Holocaust-denial contests. These days they have a Holocaust-denial cartoon competition. Is there anything more depraved than that? We do not ignore this. Some are willing to accept Iran having nuclear weapons, but we do not and will not. Anyone planning our annihilation should know that the State of Israel is very strong. We have strong defense, offence and deterrence capabilities. The bitter enemy will no longer dwell securely; Yehudah will now dwell securely. In addition to refuting the lies and augmenting our strength we must continue to build our country, and we continue to develop Israel by leaps and bounds.
In the 68 years of Israel’s independence, Israel’s population has multiplied by ten and its economy by one hundred. We have absorbed millions of immigrants from 70 Diaspora communities. We are laying foundations, putting down tracks, breaking new frontiers in science, technology, culture, art, in every field. Israel is the definitive testament to the creative spirit and the life that beats in the hearts of the Jews. We all draw inspiration from this spirit that exists in you, the Holocaust survivors. You, who witnessed the Nazi horrors, are living testaments of the light that broke through the cracks of the darkness of death. Your grandchildren and great-grandchildren walk among us tall and proud, and like you, contribute to the country’s security, development and prosperity.
The prophet Isaiah promised to give unto the mourners of Zion splendor instead of ashes. And that is the essence of Israel’s rebirth – splendor instead of ashes. More than anything else, the flourishing State of Israel signifies the triumph of light over darkness, life over death and truth over lies.
Jerusalem (TPS) – President Reuven Rivlin said that the Holocaust is central to Israel’s identity and vowed to combat the “chronic disease” of anti-Semitism on Wednesday night during the official ceremony marking Holocaust Remembrance Day at Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum.
“The Holocaust, whether we like it or not, has become a factor in shaping the standards of our understanding of ourselves, of understanding our relationship with other nations, and our role in the world,” Rivlin said. “The Holocaust places the Jewish people before basic principles, as a people and as a nation gazing inward at ourselves and outward toward all of humanity.”
Rivlin stressed, however, that the founding of the State of Israel was no redress for the Holocaust.
“The State of Israel is not, under any circumstances, compensation for the Holocaust,” he said. “However, the Holocaust put into perspective the necessity and crucial need of the Jewish people to return to its historical roots, as a nation that takes its fate in its hands.”
Rivlin emphasized that Israel not only allows the Jewish people to take control of its own destiny, but also allows it to defend itself as a collective against the continuing phenomenon of anti-Semitism.
“Anti-Semitism and the persecution of the Jews are not a fad, or something that can be taken lightly,” Rivlin noted. “It is a difficult, chronic disease that penetrates deep into the heart and history of nations.”
“The State of Israel will deal with this anti-Semitism by ensuring, first and foremost, a national home and a Jewish army that protects the nation of survival,” added Rivlin. “We are a nation that has survived and will continue to survive thanks to our resilience and strong spirit.”
Rivlin also addressed the Holocaust survivors attending the ceremony, asking for their help in extracting the meaning of the tragedy and lessons to be learned.
“These are the years in which we should take the opportunity to try to clarify along with you how you want to shape the memory of the Holocaust and its lessons for future generations,” he said. “The number which was tattooed onto your flesh is etched into the hearts of this nation for generations and has become the living will of the Jewish people.”