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Monday, April 28, 2014

Shimon Peres describes how his grandfather was murdered by the Nazis

At Yad Vashem on Sunday night, Shimon Peres related how his grandfather HY"D (May God Avenge his blood) was murdered by the Nazis - may their names be obliterated.
The President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, spoke at the official commemoration ceremony for the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem.
President Peres spoke about the horrors of the massacre of Hungarian Jewry which took place 70 years ago today and of the destruction of the community in his home town of Vishneva.
President Peres also took the opportunity to address the dangers of the rise of extremism and the need to be vigilant against anti-Semitism across the world.
The following is a translated version of his speech:
“My brothers and sisters, at this very moment I see before my eyes a heartbreaking image. Tens of thousands of people; young and old, male and female, all concentrated on the banks of the Danube River. They are all under orders to face the river, each one tied to the next. Behind them stand Nazi storm troopers, Germans and locals, who cut them down with bullets in the back. To save bullets they tied weights and stones to them so that the dead will drag the living down with them. Children were tied to their mothers, the young to the elderly.
"The bodies of the victims are pushed into the chilling, foaming waters of the Danube. Their cries rise to the heavens and are left without an echo. The perpetrators stand with smiles on their faces, as if they carried out an act of heroism and won a brave battle. The blue Danube is painted red, in a single moment it became a floating grave, innocent victims, innocent people. Itamar Yaoz-Kest, a Jewish poet born in Hungary and sent to Bergen-Belsen, screams in one of his poems, 'What is there to drink? They tell me people. Water with blood?'
It happened in Hungary.
“But then another image comes to my mind. A photo of the town where I was born and spent the first decade of my life. Vishneva. In Vishneva the Nazis used a different technique. They didn't shoot the Jews. They burnt them alive. The Nazis, Germans and locals, gathered up all the Jews left in Vishneva, (half had already emigrated to Israel) and forced them to march to the synagogue which was made of wood.
"My grandfather, wrapped in a Jewish prayer shawl, stood at the head of the march, Rabbi Zvi Meltzer may peace be upon his soul. The same prayer shawl that I huddled under every Yom Kippur to listen to him recite the Kol Nidre prayer in his beautiful voice. They locked the doors of the synagogue and set it on fire with all the Jews still inside. No-one survived. Nothing was left of the synagogue. I can still hear the Kol Nidre prayer, which my grandfather would recite, in my heart.
Read the whole thing.

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