JERUSALEM—To mark the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, a special event took place Thursday in the Chamber of the Holocaust on Jerusalem’s Mount Zion, during which a plaque was unveiled in honor of Oskar Schindler, who as a Swedish diplomat in Budapest saved some 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust.
The Chamber was the first museum devoted to the Holocaust in Israel, and was established in 1949. The event was initiated by Limmud FSU, together with the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany and March of the Living.
Oskar Schindler died in 1974, and at his request, was buried in the Catholic Franciscan cemetery on Mount Zion, near to the Chamber of the Holocaust. During the first years after its establishment, the Chamber served as a symbolic cemetery, and its walls were covered by survivors with memorial plaques to their destroyed communities.
The event began at the cemetery, with a short ceremony next to Schindler’s grave. The daughter of a Schindler’s list survivor Yaakov Lazar, Lily Haber, who also serves as chairman of Krakow survivors organization, said that “Schindler saved not only 1,200 Jews while endangering his life, but tens of thousands of souls, descendants of the survivors. We must cherish and remember him.”
Following the ceremony, a plaque honoring Schindler was unveiled in the Chamber of the Holocaust, and a special candle lightning took place in memory of the victims. Chaim Chesler, Limmud FSU founder and the initiator of the event, said that “the Chamber of the Holocaust is the place where the ashes of 250,000 Jews murdered in the Holocaust were buried, and this is the right place to commemorate one of the greatest Righteous Among the Nations.”
Survivors and several senior officials took part in the ceremony, among them representative of the Catholic Franciscan church, Father Alberto(Italy), Vice-President of the Claims Conference in Israel, Shlomo Gur, Chairman of March of the Living, Dr. Shmuel Rosenman, Former Chief Rabbi of Romania Rabbi Menachem Hacohen, Chairman of the Chamber of the Holocaust, Rabbi Yitzhak Goldstein, CEO of Amigur Yuval Frenkel and others.
Holocaust survivor, Bronia Shkolnik (86), said that “this event is very moving – to be here in the State of Israel and to cherish the memory of those people who saved so many souls”.
Shlomo Gur, vice president of the Claims Conference in Israel, said: “The award of the title of Righteous Among the Nations is an atonement to Oscar Schindler, whose memory has been forgotten over the years. The event today is a tribute to the courage he displayed in rescuing the 1,200 Jews, we must continue to remember and not to forget.”
The representative of the Catholic Franciscan Church in Israel, Father Alberto (Italy) said during the ceremony that “There is no doubt that Oskar Schindler serves as a symbol for the Righteous Among the Nations, whom we must remember and cherish”.
Rabbi Yitzhak Goldstein, chairman of the Chamber of the Holocaust, said after a prayer in Schindler’s memory that “it is not self-evident that so many Jews have come here today to honor Schindler’s memory, and this is clear proof of the greatness of his actions.”