Jerusalem. Yad Vashem Memorial
A visit to the Yad Vashem Memorial does not require a preface. The theme is clear without it. The Nazi crimes during the Second World War, one way or another affected the fate of all the families of Jews in Europe. Where, if not in the Jewish state of Israel, is it intended to settle down to such a center, a complex of institutions that have gathered so much information about the phenomenon called the Holocaust!
I think that there is no Israeli citizen who would not be here, like there is not a single tourist group whose route would pass the Memorial. It is clear that in one visit it is impossible to cover this “block”, we will visit only a few places in the complex, but I will try to choose the most impressive of them.
Alley of the Righteous
“The one who saved one life, as if saved the whole world” – this inscription is engraved on the Israeli medal “The Righteous Among the Nations.” It is awarded to those who, during the Second World War, contributed to the salvation of Jews. In the Memorial of the Holocaust of European Jewry “Yad Vashem” in Jerusalem, data on 17.443 righteous people of the world are collected.
The world knows the names of the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who personally contributed to the salvation of thousands of Jews, Oscar Schindler, behind whom there are one thousand two hundred lives, the King of Denmark, put on a blindfold with a six-pointed star, and many others who have committed actions on a global scale. However, it was no less a feat to save that one life which is written on the medal, because behind her salvation lay the danger of losing her own, which could not be given a second time.
Before the entrance to the Memorial is the Alley of the Righteous on which one tree is planted in honor of each. You know about the names mentioned above no less than me, therefore I will tell you about little-known people …
For everyone, the war began in different ways. The pioneer camp, located near the Lithuanian city of Druskininkai, was literally shot by German guns. The 20-year-old camp commandant, Lithuanian Stasis Sviderskis, had a thought: there were more than 70 Jewish children in the camp. At the railway station, he arranged for their removal. Extraordinary energy was required in supplying food, moving the staff towards the Urals, love and sensitivity to children who did not understand anything.
And the news from Lithuania was terrible. Only now do we know them with certainty: in Paneriai, near Vilnius, 70 thousand Jews were exterminated; near Alytus – 60 thousand; in Kaunas – 40 thousand; in Mariampol – 10 thousand; in Panevezys – 8 thousand. Of the 240 thousand Jews who lived before the war in Lithuania, 225 thousand were killed. 70 more could have been added to them if Stasis hadn’t been around. After serving at the front, he returned to Udmurtia and headed an orphanage, in which children from Lithuania were gathered. At the end of 1944, all the pupils of the orphanage returned to Lithuania, but almost no one was left alive – they were killed. Their names are preserved in the memory of those saved by Stasis, in whose honor a tree was planted on the alley.
“Was that pig killed?” – asked the German Air Force half-Jew Inga Baumgart on July 20, the 44th year, on the day of the assassination attempt on Hitler. After this question, it was clear that only an escape could save her from the Gestapo. The Gita Bauer and her sister Maria Schwylen are the names of those who hid Inga until the end of the war. They did not want to take the medal, claiming that everyone should have done the same as they did. However, they were told: “There are so few people in the world who know that not all Germans are bad.” Gita and Maria do not need to ask the question: “Where were you at that time, what were you doing?”. They have the right to answer: “Remained people.” When Gita was awarded a medal at the Memorial, the German ambassador to Israel said: “It would be much more difficult for me to fulfill my diplomatic duties and I would feel less confident as a German in the Jewish state if it were not for the dedication of Gita and other heroes.”
And another name: Chiyune Sugihara. “?” – Japanese? – Japanese, samurai by origin! What is the connection with the Jews? – “Schindler’s List” became known by fate, and the “Sugihara List” remained its secret until 1985, when the name Chiun was assigned to one of the parks in Jerusalem, and a tree was planted in his honor on the Alley of the Righteous.
Chiyune Sugihara was the consul of Japan in Lithuania who issued thousands (!) Transit visas to Jews whose visas saved their lives. But the feat was that the Japanese government categorically forbade him to do this and, violating the order, he came into direct conflict with the Samurai code of honor and committed an act equal to high treason. “After all, these were people, and they needed our help.