AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY
The following is a literal translation of the Hebrew text of today's (April 19, 1998) program by Nadia Matar, the chairperson of Women for Israel's Tomorrow (Women in Green), on Arutz 7.
Shalom to all our listeners! This is Nadia Matar speaking:
This week the Jewish People commemorates Holocaust Day. In Poland, thousands of Jewish youth from throughout the world will participate in the "March of the Living," in the context of which they will tour the extermination camps from Auschwitz to Birkenau. The "March of the Living" is the Jewish national response to the "death march" that the Nazis held at the end of the war, in January '45, for those still alive in Auschwitz. Of the 70,000 who set out on the "death march," only 20,000 remained alive. Last Shabbat's issue of the "Mekor Rishon" newspaper contained several interesting articles on this subject, which explain the background for the initiative of this undertaking known as the "March of the Living." The first "March of the Living" was held exactly ten years ago, and since then tens of thousands of young Jews from Israel and throughout the world have participated in this journey to become acquainted with the Holocaust. As Matty David writes in "Mekor Rishon" (I quote): "The years pass. The Holocaust generation is vanishing. These thousands of young people who visited the extermination camps will be those who will transmit the message of the Holocaust to the next generation and who will struggle against the Holocaust deniers from outside [i.e., from outside the Jewish people] and the Holocaust belittlers among us.
These young people who take part in the journeys to Poland return as other people - Jews and Zionists possessing stronger awareness and identification with all that Israel and Zionism symbolize. Standing on the remains of the crematoria and the gas chambers in Birkenau, waving the Israeli flag, and singing Hatikvah, implant in these young people pride, identification, strength, affiliation, and an understanding of the content of freedom and independence" (end of quote). After the chilling visit on Holocaust Day in the extermination camps in Poland, the thousands of young people will visit Israel on Independence Day. The organizers of the "March of the Living" bring the youth to an Air Force base. I personally have not participated in the "March of the Living," but from my conversations with friends who were there, it transpires that they are simply incapable of articulating the force of such a visit to Israel after the visit in Poland. The feeling that is transmitted is that the "nightmare" - Auschwitz - is behind us forever, and now we have the State of Israel and the IDF, who will ensure that such a thing will never recur.... And here, my listeners, I have a problem with this message. In my opinion, it is not enough to educate our young people not to forget the past, rather it is doubly important to explain to them that the danger of extermination has not yet passed, and that the State of Israel is surrounded by enemies who would like to complete the work of the Nazis.
For, despite all the essential differences between the beginnings and worldview of the Nazi movement and [those of] organizations such as the PLO and other Arab organizations, there is no doubt that the authoritative Arab leadership identifies with the message of the Nazis and calls for the destruction of the Jewish people in its land. The PLO Authority has adopted the two most important symbols of the Nazis, namely, the portrayal of the eagle and the infamous raised-arm salute. But much worse than this, of course, is the very fact that the heroes in the spiritual world of the PLO are people such as Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, a relative of Faisal Husseini, who is so proud of his family lineage. Haj Amin al-Husseini, of whom the arch-murderer Yasser Arafat is proud, with the latter emphasizing that the PLO continues to march in the direction the former paved, was one of the first to congratulate Hitler upon his assumption of power, and throughout the Holocaust, he maintained close ties with the Nazi leadership, in order to aid them in the realization of their ideas.
"Mekor Rishon" contained a long article about Jenny Lebel, a native of Yugoslavia now living in Israel, a lawyer and journalist, who wrote a book about Haj Amin al-Husseini and his involvement in the Nazi war machine. Not a single publishing house agreed to publish her book, for reasons such as: "the timing is not right," "not to harm the partners to the peace talks," "the subject is not politically correct," and "the controversy surrounding the Mufti does not interest the public." She was forced to publish her book "Haj Amin and Berlin" herself. My listeners, this must light a red light for us.
The journey of the "March of the Living" is of supreme importance, but we will miss its entire goal if we do not emphasize and educate our young generation that the Nazi beast still breathes - in Gaza, in Ramallah, and in the Orient House. And just as before the Holocaust, there were many Jews who did not want to see and understand the dangers and threats hovering over them, today as well there are such Jews, but even worse ... today there are Jews who cooperate in an active manner, totally willingly, with this dangerous enemy. So the message to our young people must be that we have to unite and fight with full force against this dangerous enemy, not to believe their "Osloitic" lies. All this is necessary so that we truly will be able to fulfill our promises to all our dear ones who were murdered and exterminated in Auschwitz and the other extermination camps: "Never again!!
Have a good week. And let's think: "What have we done today for the release of Jonathan Pollard?"
Originally appeared in The Jerusalem Post - April 6, 1998