Knesset marks Holocaust: Every man has a name (JERUSALEM POST) By LAHAV HARKOV 04/19/12)
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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, Knesset
Speaker Reuven Rivlin, ministers, MKs and other government officials
read names of those who perished in the Holocaust during the
Knesset´s memorial ceremony on Thursday.
The ceremony is called "Every Man Has a Name," after a poem by Zelda
that was inspired by the Holocaust. Twelfth Knesset speaker Dov
Shilanksy, a Holocaust survivor, initiated the ceremony in 1989.
Peres told the story of his birthplace, Vishniev, which was then part
of Poland but is now Belarus. His mother had five siblings, all of
whom moved to Israel, except for her brother Michael Meltzer, who
stayed behind to take care of his parents. All three were killed,
along with the rest of the town´s residents, who Nazis locked in a
wooden synagogue, which they then burned down. Anyone who tried to
escape the synagogue was shot.
"No house, no school, no cemetery remained in Vishniev," Peres
said. "Nothing was left."
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin pointed out that the name-reading
ceremony "becomes more important every year as the amount of
witnesses among us becomes less and less."
Rivlin read the names of the Jews from the town of Shklov, Belarus,
from which his mother´s family hales, that were murdered by the
Nazis. He explained that the Jewish community in Shklov was
established in the 16th century, and on the evening following Yom
Kippur 1941, residents of the Shklov Ghetto were taken to
The Knesset Speaker pointed out that there are victims of the Nazis
whose names will never be known, such as the infant son of Aharon and
Ivgenya Kapsitzky and other young children from Shklov.
Netanyahu said that this year´s ceremony was the first that his
father-in-law, Shmuel Ben-Artzi, who passed away in November, did not
"He would listen closely, because he thought this was a way to give
expression to the souls that were lost," Netanyahu said. "He saw the
loss as something both personal and national, in dimensions that
cannot be described."
The prime minister read a poem Ben-Artzi wrote in memory of his
hometown, Bilgoraj, in which he "expressed his pain over the
Opposition leader Shaul Mofaz read names of Jews killed in the
Farhoud, a Nazi-inspired pogrom in Baghdad in 1941, adding that "the
State of Israel must do everything to make sure the events of the
Holocaust, the genocide, do not repeat themselves."
Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein read names of his family
members, as did Intelligence Minister Dan Meridor, Transportation
Minister Yisrael Katz, Justice Minister Ya´akov Neeman and Deputy
Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon. Deputy Education Minister Menahem
Eliezer Moses choked back tears as he read the names of 70 members of
his father´s family who perished in Auschwitz.
Education Minister Gideon Sa´ar honored Janusz Korczak, the Polish-
Jewish educator who directed an orphanage and stayed with the orphans
when they were sent to the Treblinka extermination camp.
Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon and Deputy Minister for the
Advancement of Youth, Women and Students Gila Gamliel read names of
those who perished in concentration camps in Libya, where their
families come from.
MKs from Likud, Kadima, Labor, National Union and Shas read names.
MKs Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) and Avraham Michaeli (Shas) told of family
members from Georgia who were forced to fight in the Red Army, and
never returned. MK Amir Peretz (Labor) honored Jews from Morocco who
perished in Europe.
MK Ronnie Bar-On (Kadima) concluded his name-reading with a quote
from Deuteronomy: "Remember what Amalek did to you on your way out of
Egypt…that he struck those of you who were hindmost, all the
weaklings at the rear, when you were faint and exhausted, and he did
not fear God…God gives you rest from all your enemies around, in the
Land that God gives you as an inheritance to possess it…you shall not
At the beginning of the ceremony, the IDF rabbinical chorus sang
Zelda´s poem "Every Man Has a Name," followed by the lighting of six
candles by survivors, the heads of the Knesset Caucus for Holocaust
Survivors MKs Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) and Ze´ev Bielski
(Kadima), as well as MK Ruhama Avrahal-Balila (Kadima) and her son,
an IDF officer. Then, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, Sephardic
Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar and IDF Chief Cantor Shai Abramson read
psalms and prayers. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 04/19/12)
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