Today, B’nai B’rith World Center and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael held a unique Holocaust Day ceremony marking the heroism of Jewish rescuers:
This year the Ceremony was dedicated to commemorating the rescue efforts of "The Bialystok children Angel", Shmuil Markowitz Pevzner, a Jewish teacher and educator whom assisted many children during the war
Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and B’nai B’rith held today the 14th Yom Hashoah ceremony (Holocaust Remembrance Day). The ceremony is unique in the world and is dedicated to appreciate the efforts, and instilling the heritage, of Jews who saved Jews during the Holocaust. The ceremony was held in the forest of the martyrs in Jerusalem, and was devoted to gratitude the work of Samuel Markowitz Pevzner RIP, a teacher and an educator who helped Jewish children during the Holocaust.
According to testimonies of survivors, Shmuel Markovitz Pevsner served as Director of the Polish camp of Soviet Scouts ("Pioneers") in the Lithuanian town of Droscaninki when Nazi Germany launched an offensive against the territories of Poland and Lithuania which were controlled by the Soviet Union.
He was responsible for the evacuation of about 300 Jewish kids, of whom approximately 140 were Jewish children from the Bielistok area ("Children of Bialystok"), to the Soviet Union during the battle between Germany and the Soviet Union thus saving their lives. Pevzner established a house for children and with the help of the authorities kept their general education and physical deficiencies despite the emergency, extreme cold in the Urals and emotional difficulties of children.
Danny Atar, Chairman of the KKL-JNF said today at the ceremony: "It is appropriate that these days where divisions among us are escalating and dialogue between various groups in society gets extreme, we remember the spirit of solidarity represented by Shmuel Markowitz Pevsner, who kept us safe even in the most difficult times, lifted us out of the crematorium and ashes and led us to fulfill the Zionist dream of a State of Israel.
It is preferable to have a dialogue even if we don't agree on everything, but it is important to remember that ultimately the common goal of all of us is the prosperity of the State of Israel. This goal could be achieved only if we keep the same spirit which our people discovered during the hardest of times ".
Dr. Haim V. Katz, B’nai B’rith World Center Chairman said that "Today we make historic justice with Samuel Markowitz Pevzner. We as representatives of the Jewish people- praise his accomplishments and commemorate his memory, through his family, by awarding him the "Jewish Rescuers Citation ".
The Kaddish at the ceremony read Ofer Cohen, father of a soldier from the Border Guard ("Mishmar Hagvul"), Hadar Cohen, who was killed in the terror attack at Damascus Gate, and said "My heart is bloody this day standing with soldiers from the Border Guard which were with my daughter when she was murdered. The statement "We will not be led like sheep to the slaughter" turned a gentle and smiley girl into a brave warrior. I ask the military commanders of the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) to educate new generations of fighters in Hadar's heritage ".
During the ceremony, Esther Reyes Mosel, A member in the Committee to Recognize the Heroism of Jewish Rescuers during the Holocaust (JRJ), and Alan Schneider, Director of B'nai B'rith, gave the "“Jewish Rescuers Citation” to Dr. Mark Pevzner, son of Samuel Pevzner RIP, recognizing his father's achievements. The Citation was granted to other Jewish families who helped Jews during the Holocaust: Hella Rufeisen-Schuepper, Simcha Honwald RIP, Esther Tzdikrio Maestro RIP, Wanda (Bella) Rothenberg RIP, Miriam Peleg and Mordechai Ben-Zvi, Dizzy Hlgoah Aruch RIP.
The event was held at the Martyr's Forest –which memorializes the victims of the Holocaust with 6 million trees planted in their memory. The trees act as living memorial candles for the memory of the perished.
Across the forest are located many tombstones for the memory of destroyed Jewish communities in Europe as well as monuments: the B'nai B'rith cave, “Scroll of Fire” monument, Anna Frank monument and more.
Photo Credit: Avi Hayun
Photo Caption: from left to right - Alan Schneider, B'nai B'rith World Center director; Dr. Mark Pevzner, son of Samuel Pevzner; Danny Atar, Chairman of the KKL-JNF; H.E Alexander Shein, Russian ambassador to Israel; Dr. Haim V. Katz, B’nai B’rith World Center Chairman; Ofer Cohen, father of Hadar Cohen Rip which was murdered in a terror attack in Damascus Gate earlier this year; Shimon Dadon, Commander of the Border Guard Training base.