The B’nai B’rith World Center and the Jewish National Fund held a unique ceremony in Israel dedicated to the commemoration of the heroism of Jews who rescued fellow Jews during the Holocaust.
The ceremony took place in the Scroll of Fire Square, located in the Martyrs' Forest, a joint JNF-B’nai B’rith project located in the Jerusalem hills, where six million trees have been planted in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.
Some 600 people participated in the ceremony, including 250 junior high school students and some 250 Border Patrol recruits.
Speakers at the event included Knesset Member Zevulun Orlev, chairman of the Knesset Education, Culture and Sport Committee, H.E. Edward losiper, ambassador of Romania., Alexander Czoban-Sarel, a Holocaust survivor from Poland and a Palmach veteran, Haim Roet, a Holocaust survivor from Holland and Chairman of the Committee to Recognize the Heroism of Jews who Rescued Jews During the Holocaust, Efi Stenzler, KKL-JNF world chairman and Prof. Isaac Mayer, a B’nai B’rith World Center leader and Holocaust survivor from Hungary.
B’nai B’rith World Center Chairman Dr. Haim V. Katz concluded the ceremony by reciting the traditional Kaddish prayer.
During the ceremony, Ambassador losiper noted that the issue of Jewish rescuers has been neglected over the years. The ambassador paid tribute to the Holocaust-era leaders of the Jewish community, including the president of the community and the chief rabbi, who conducted an uncompromising struggle until the end of the war to save the Jewish community from annihilation.
According to B’nai B’rith, thanks to that struggle half of Romania's Jewry survived. Many of these Jews immigrated to Israel and contributed greatly to its development.
Aleksander Czoban-Sarel, president of the “Moshe Shor” B’nai B’rith lodge in Tel Aviv, escaped the Nazis at the age of 14 after both of his parents were murdered. Along with his younger sister, he survived by hiding among Poles and adopting a false identity. He vowed to continue to convey his personal story for future generations.
“We remained alive, even through we could have found ourselves among the dead at any moment and at any time. Destiny wanted us to survive. I am proud that I chose to live in Eretz Israel," he said.