Study and Theory/
Holocaust Remembrance Day

Benyamin Yogev

How will we be worthy of their memory

  

It has been 75 years since the start of the World War II. Many years prior to that the persecution of the Jews had already started in Germany, until the terrible Holocaust. From 1933-1950 the central subjects in the Passover Haggadah and at Seder nights for many kibbutzim – was the Holocaust, World War II and the persecution of the Jews. Hereinafter are two special pieces that started their life in the Passover Haggadah.

 

In 1943, Passover 5703, Emma Talmei-Levine, a member of Kibbutz Mishmar Ha’Emek and in time one of the leaders of the “Shomer Hazair” youth movement and a member of the Knesset wrote:

“This simple thing, those clods of earth from which we take our bread, our routine, is not ours at all -  it suddenly turns, in the light of the focus on the exile, into something holy. The fact that the areas that supported us were bought for several copper pennies from the residents of basements, tinkers, the wearers of tailors’ stools and the bench from the House of Torah Study – takes on huge proportions in the light of the fire of the burning and discriminating ovens in the Diaspora in Poland.

 The deposit was placed in trusting hands. When the Jewish town drowned in indifference – we permitted this and we pilfered clods of earth.... not for us, those sitting within it, in Israel, but they were dedicated to the entire nation awaiting redemption.”

 

Two years later, in 1945, when Abba Kovner made aliyah to Israel and Ein Hahoresh, he wrote his famous “We will remember”, and started to read it on Seder night in the kibbutz. Later he fought for separate texts to remember the Holocaust and starting from 1952 he created the memorial ceremonies in the kibbutz movement and throughout Israel, which are customarily used to this day.

 

From all the lines of memory, the last line is the line of Abba Kovner's will: "Do not be like us until our lives are worthy of their memory." And it seems that when we ask ourselves what is the meaning - to be worthy of their memory - the answer can be found in his famous poem "The Master of Dreams": "We are not silent!The one who is silent is only you. The one who finds the appropriate solution to the outcry and the hope!”.

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