The Yad Ezer Lechaver community has inaugurated the largest and newest “Holocaust museum” in the north in a moving ceremony on Holocaust Remembrance Day

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Friday, April 28, 2017

Author: News writer “Yad Ezer Le’Chaver”

On April 24, 2017, the "Yad Ezer L'Haver" community held a special and moving ceremony on the Holocaust Memorial Day. Close to 1,000 guests attended the ceremony, including hundreds of Holocaust survivors, security forces (such as police and army officers), ambassadors, consuls of the diplomatic corps, school children, volunteers, public figures and many guests.

The "Yad Ezer L'Haver" foundation has established a charitable community on Kassel Street, Haifa, for the purpose of Holocaust survivors and families in need. The ceremony was held in the courtyard of the "Survivor memorial " Museum, founded by the organization in 2012. This year the ceremony was marked by the opening of a new wing in the growing Holocaust Museum in memory of the victims of the Holocaust in “Yad Ezer L'Haver”, which will now be the largest and most impressive in the north. “Yad Ezer L'Haver” community museum is expected to extend over hundreds of square meters and its construction is scheduled to be completed in the coming year. This museum commemorates the horrific lives of the Holocaust survivors (now residents of the "Warm House of Holocaust Survivors"), and displays exhibits of personal belongings that were preserved during the Holocaust, hidden by the survivors or their families in hastily carved concrete walls On show are items such as special Torah scrolls, mezuzahs, menorahs, shofars, tallit and Jewish ritual prayer fringes. Furthermore, visitors can watch dozens of screens displaying chilling documentations, films and pictures . The founders of the museum confirm that “the main reason for the establishment of the museum is to ascertain that future generations, eternally remember and never forget the Holocaust!”

The ceremony began with the lighting of the "torch of memory". The torch was lit by the Holocaust survivor Mrs. Shoshana Kolmar, 98, who was born in Czechoslovakia and survived the Auschwitz concentration camp. During the ceremony, she raised her sleeve and cried with a choked voice: "There, in the Auschwitz death camp, the Nazis murdered everyone including all of my family members. They did not call me Shoshana, they called me "80277," This is the number that the Nazis burned on my arm. "

The cantor, Rabbi Chaim Greenstein, then delivered the "El Maleh Rachamim" prayer in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.

"We stand here amazed every time by this man, Shimon Sabag, Founder and Director of Yad Ezer L'Haver and how much will to give one person has," said the mayor of Haifa, Mr. Yona Yahav, at the central ceremony of Holocaust Remembrance Day held at the “Yad La’Nitzol” Plaza in Haifa. "We witness this awesome and tremendous giving every day, every hour, and we understand how much strength is needed in order to help and support the Holocaust survivors on a constant basis.

Many public figures attended the ceremony including the Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Knesset member, Ayoub Kara, Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection, Yaron Mazuz, and Deputy Minister Michael Oren, Knesset members Akram Hasson and Michael Malkieli, President of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem ,Mr. Jürgen Buller, philanthropist ,Jan Fischer, of Germany, Mayors from the Haifa City Council, and hundreds of Holocaust survivors among them about one hundred residents of the "Warm House of Holocaust Survivors" of the Association.

Deputy Minister of the Environment, Knesset member, Yaron Mazuz, also spoke at the ceremony and said: "Every day I am thrilled by the activities of Mr. Shimon Sabag and the Yad Ezer community. So often he uses his tremendous energies towards his activities for the sake of Holocaust survivors. I hope that you will continue to engage in this important mitzvah for the well-being of Holocaust survivors, and to help others and those in need, with the help of the volunteers of the organization, for many years to come. "

Kiryat HaHesed is prosperous, and well-maintained, providing many moments of happiness and attention to hundreds of Holocaust survivors every day. Most of them live here and receive a warm home with 3 hot meals daily, medical, psychological and pharmacological treatment, as needed, alongside many social activities held at the organization's social club.

Mr. Shimon Sabag, director of the "Yad Ezer Lever" organization, who is working day and night for the well-being of Holocaust survivors in Haifa and Israel, said as he closed the ceremony “I know that this hard work would not have been possible without the assistance of all present. It is a great privilege for me to be helped by the many volunteers of the organization and generous donors, some of whom are here today. I believe the association's activities must continue, and it is our duty to try and locate every Holocaust survivor who still needs some kind of assistance in any form. We hope to reach the day the Holocaust survivors will have everything they need or want. I do not need to stress how important it is for us to make these people feel good in their last years of life. It is important that we provide them with opportunities to smile and feel cheerful. Today we are unveiling the first wing of the Holocaust Museum. It will be a memorial museum for victims of the Holocaust and for future generations, to remember the Holocaust and never forget. Today we have the State of Israel, which is a very strong country and has a large and strong army. I will continue to locate the Holocaust survivors who are in need, and I pledge to continue helping them as much as we can."

Representatives of the Israel Football Association who came together with national coach Elisha Levi announced that they would embrace and adopt the organisation. "I think we can help with the various activities and we will do it with joy for this lofty goal" said the head of the information department of the soccer association, Shlomi Barzel.

One of the highlights of the ceremony was the awarding of the "Shield of Social Justice" to Channel 10 journalist and writer Eli Levy. Levy, who received the shield from a long list of public figures, did so due to his astounding activities for the sakes of holocaust survivors. When asked to speak he said “I stand here excited not only because of the prize, but because of the strength of Shimon Sabag and the association he heads. This is an extraordinary man, and I wish there were many more like him in the State of Israel. "

The ceremony lasted for more than an hour. The singers included Vanessa Büller, wife of the president of the Christian Embassy, the veteran singer Yakov Shapiro and the choir of a student at the Yizraeliya school. All were extremely enjoyable. Ron Kaufman said at the ceremony, "It is more important for the state to help Holocaust survivors and not leave this job to people like Shimon Sabag and his association who do holy work." At the end of the event, the organizers were given a token of appreciation from Jürgen Büller and Jan Fischer at a short ceremony held at the club house in the presence of dozens of Holocaust survivors.

The event was attended by: the secretary general of the Haifa Religious Council Rabbi David Metzger, The founder of Bereaved Brothers Organization "Lanetsach Achi" and representative of "kulanu" in Haifa Eli Debi, The secretariats of the Amuta Trust Tami Siner and Ruti Cohen, The social worker of the organisation, who worked hard for the success of the ceremony, Mrs. Amit Eshed, The organization's security officer, Yisrael Cohen and his wife Mali, the mother of the house of the "Beit HaYeled" association in Neve David Mrs. Ofra Ovadia, Dr. isabella Greenberg, an expert in psychiatry and director of the psycho-geriatric service at Rambam Hospital in Haifa, The head of security and the veteran volunteer of the organization, Reuven Freizi, who assists in all the organization's events on a voluntary basis, and police officers from the Casualties Unit at the Israel Police Force, in which Yoni Turgeman, a casualty officer, was assigned to the AAN Unit and Shlomi Kedar, Northern Casualties Officer. Furthermore, it should be noted that the injured officers of the Israel Police have been accompanying the Holocaust survivors for several years and are taking care of their welfare.

Nearing the denouement of the ceremony workers, volunteers (who come from overseas and members of the chaifa community) came together with all other attendants for an inspiring and uniting singing of “HaTikvah”, it is safe to say not one eye left this ceremony dry. Following this, the much anticipated viewing of the museum wing had begun.

This year, the ceremony was particularly moving when the students of the Yizraelia School performed chilling and uplifting singing and music arrangements. The Yizraeliya School in Haifa, under the direction of Mrs. Iris Cohen and in cooperation with the coordinator of the community system, Mrs. Aviva Feldman in Hagee, have been cooperating for many years. During the year, with the Holocaust survivors of the organization, and especially for ‘Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes' Remembrance Day, the students of the school choir, under the direction of Leonid Goffman, prepared songs for this distinguished ceremony. The ceremony was attended by second to sixth graders who were very overcome about the important event, the children first sang "Eli Eli", and finally sang a song which incorporates three languages Yiddish Russian and Hebrew “Koreh Ani Ab”. In the crowd there were masses of teary eyes, especially after international singer, Yaakov Shapiro, sang in Yiddish.

The "Yad Ezer Lever" organisation sponsors the Warm House for Holocaust Survivors in Kiryat HaHesed, which has been established for more than 120 Holocaust survivors. It provides hot meals to hundreds of Holocaust survivors and provides assistance to the needy. Additionally, it helps the homeless, single mothers, cancer patients and others in need.

In “Kiryat HaHesed” there is a memorial for the 6 Million jews murdered, in front of the Yad Lanitsul museum. The black monument is built on a huge surface in the form of a Star of David, so that we will never forget the yellow star of Jude and the Israeli flag. The sides of the Star of David are used as benches for survivors of the Holocaust living in the Warm House and for visitors to this museum. The six-meter monument, in the form of the sixth book, and an eternal flame is lit to commemorate the 6 million victims of the Holocaust.

Finally, it is worth noting the the entire Kesel St which is located right in the heart of Hadar, was blocked of to all vehicles, which is no simple task at all. This was all done with the incredible help and work of Israel security officer Israel Cohen.

Extensive Photo Gallery: Joe Luciano, Adir Yaziref.