President Shimon Peres, today (Thursday, 17 January 2013), at the Ghetto Fighters' House Museum at kibbutz Lohamei HaGeta'ot, took part in a ceremony to commemorate 70 years since the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, along with fighters from the ghetto, Holocaust survivors and their grandchildren.
President Peres spoke to the fighters and said, "To sit between you is to sit between a legend and a dream. It is hard to fathom the heights of your bravery. One cannot understand the depth of the Nazi atrocities when compared alongside the heroic bravery of the Warsaw Ghetto fighters. I stand in awe of the heroism of the fighters and shocked, to this day, by the Nazi hatred."
Two fighters from the uprising who survived the atrocities of the war told their story in the presence of President Peres - Chavka Folman-Raban and 'Kazik' Simcha Rotem. Chavka Folman-Raban, who served as a young liaison during the uprising spoke of her sense of mission and of the individual and group preparation before the uprising began, "For me to be in Israel is a dream, when I was a fighter in the Warsaw Ghetto, when I was caught and I sat in German prison, when we were deported and sent to the camps, on the death march and in the face of murderous atrocities and the flames and the smoke we never stopped dreaming of the land of Israel. We prayed that we'd arrive here and set up a kibbutz, and create a new life."
'Kazik' Rotem spoke during his testimony of the preparation work for the uprising and the rescue of the fighters from the sewage pipes under Warsaw. At the end of the event, Ayal Zukerman, granddaughter of Zvi and Antek Zuckerman, spoke and said that she felt, "great pride to present her grandparents, fighters of the uprising" and stressed that "the memory and legacy of my grandparents and the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising must be passed down as a torch to future generations." President Peres turned to her and said, "The Warsaw Ghetto uprising is one of the peaks of bravery of the Jewish people. We salute the fighters of the uprising; future generations will continue to carry the memory of the uprising."
A particularly emotional moment in the ceremony was the presentation to President Peres, by fighters from the ghetto uprising, of a rare and authentic diary written by one of the fighters of the uprising from inside the ghetto detailing the deportations and the stories of those who went to their deaths while the uprising began. In the diary, which is translated into Hebrew, the author describes from his viewpoint the actions and bravery of the Jewish fighters. The diary, which is published for the first time today for the general public, was discovered alongside other documents as part a collection which was given to the Ghetto Fighters Museum in the 1970s by Adolf Berman who survived the war and arrived in Israel.