By Dov Lipman
I stand here today as a great-grandson coming for the first time to the burial place of my great-grandparents who arrived in Auschwitz on Shavuot night in May 1944. Rabbi Elimelech Fischman, and his wife, Rebbetzin Yuta Fischman, were slaughtered not far from here on that dark and gloomy night, along with many of their children and 28 grandchildren.
I stand here with tears in my eyes. Tears for my grandmother, Mrs. Ethel Kleinman, may she live and be well, who had to see her parents and siblings taken to be slaughtered. I cry for my mother who was robbed of the opportunity to meet her grandparents, her uncles and aunts, and her cousins, and that all we are left with is ashes. Not even a picture remains.
But I also stand here with great pride. I have come to Auschwitz as a member of the Israeli Knesset. Am Yisrael Chai. Despite the attempt of the Nazis to annihilate us, we survived and have built a Jewish and democratic state. With Gâ€‘d’s help, our state is strong and flourishing despite the desire of many of our neighbors to destroy us and many other countries that work against us.
I have come here to honor the memories of my beloved ancestors who were murdered here and to tell them with great pride that they have great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren learning the same Torah which they learned, observing the same mitzvot which they observed, and living as free Jews in the Holy Land–the land towards which they prayed three times a day as persecuted Jews.
This is the ultimate honor to their memory. Am Yisrael Chai. May their memories be a source of blessing. Thank you very much. v