«Jewish Observer»
May 2002
5762 Iyar

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Nissan 27 - the Day of Catastrophe and heroism, day of sorrow and memory - is marked not only in Israel where a corresponding law was passed as early as in 1951, three years after the establishment of an independent Jewish state. Nissan 27 is the day uniting in memory all the Jews of the world - alive and dead... It unites those born several generations later and those for whom the Catastrophe is a continuous pain, an open wound of one's own life. Mournful ceremonies in Odessa took place in memorial places, which "entered" not only into the city geography, but also into the awful history of Catastrophe. Though, the participants of the meeting in the Prokhorovsky garden near the obelisk on the local Odessa Alley of Righteous Men talked not only about the past. They talked about the present days which again, as it has repeatedly occurred over thousands of years, subject the Jewish people to trials.

"Nissan 27 is far from a simple day. It is very difficult to find the words to exactly convey the feeling of tragedy that befell on our people in the years of the Holocaust, - said Shmuel Katsev, director of the Israeli informational cultural center in Odessa. - We shouldn't forget it. But we should also remember the following: to our deep regret, we recently witness the appearance of people, organizations, structures which allow themselves think the Catastrophe of the Jewish people may occur again; they apply rather big efforts to this.

As a man who has an honor to represent the interests of the State of Israel, I should officially declare - reiteration of what happened almost sixty years ago is impossible. It is impossible because there is a strong State of Israel, because there are strong Jewish communities beyond the borders of Israel, because there are people who will never allow either to forget or to let this occur again. We remember, we are aware of this. Nobody will be forgotten and nothing will be forgotten. Every man has a name..."

"Our people have survived incredible sufferings, our pain is alive, - with these words Chief Rabbi of Odessa and the region Shlomo Baksht began his speech at the meeting. - There is, probably, not a single Jew whose relatives wouldn't have perished in the fire of the Holocaust. But yet, we won. Our victory is not a victory of strength. It is different... Several weeks ago we gathered at the Easter table marking Seder. We rose glasses with vine and sang a very famous song "Am Israel hai". Our victory, our present and future lies in that eternal which has always supported and protected our people, in the promise the God gave to our forefather Abraham. He was telling him: our children, our descendants will suffer but the Jews shall always live, no one shall be able to exterminate them..."

The day of Nissan 27 was also marked in the Jewish school "Or Sameakh". The meeting in the school museum of the Catastrophe began with a memorable speech. There were photos, maps indicating locations of ghettos, death camps, awful death roads along the Odessa land...

Is there a place for this in a happy childhood? Can children understand and feel what almost every Jewish family-experienced decades ago? They do can understand and feel. Their teachers speak to them about the Catastrophe because it is said, "And tell it to your son". We shouldn't let time continuity break off.

"During the Holocaust fascists killed six million Jews, - tells Mari Dreerman, the director of the school "Or Sameakh", to the smallest pupils. - They wanted to kill our entire people. But it is impossible to exterminate the people. The memory about those who died in the incinerators of Auschwitz, Buchenvald and many other concentration camps will remain forever. Most important for us is to keep this memory and convey it to younger generations. We now convey it to you, and you will convey it your children, your grandchildren not to let it occur any more. We must remember, and if we remember we shall live on".

...New generations will take this sorrowful memory. And they will again light funeral candles - in memory of those whose continuation we are...


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