This week we mark 78 years for the end of World War II.
78 years to one of the most difficult times the nations of the world have known, and the most difficult for the Jewish people.
In Israel, the Holocaust Memorial Day is indicated exactly one week before the Independence Day (this year in April) and this is not a coincidence.
Our parents and grandparents who fought for their souls and lived in impossible conditions, those brave heroes who screamed in loud voices "No more!"- They are the ones who established a country.
And it wasn't easy - the war for their lives in Europe was indeed over, but the war for their lives and home in Israel had just begun.
They fought for the indisputable right to return to the land of our ancestors after years of exile. They fought for their biggest dream- to finally establish the one and only official country in the entire world for the Jewish people.
They gave up on a better and more comfortable life in other countries, to make sure that we, their grandchildren and children, would have a safe place where we could grow up and call it home.
Thanks to them we are all finally in one place, one language, one house, and endless stories.
Two weeks ago, on January 11th, at the age of 90, Israel Levin passed away. Levin was the last boy to survive from the Warsaw ghetto. He escaped from the ghetto with his father through the sewer pipes. In Israel, he had a glorious revival- he started a family, held managerial positions and was a commander and a prominent figure in the “kibbutz movement”. During the Yom Kippur War, in front of burning tanks on the battlefield, he declared in connection: "There will be no second Holocaust, row for contact."
His children said "If every person has one life path, dad has many life paths. He used to say that 'until the age of 13 I fought for my life as none of you have done in your entire life'.
He would tell us about the horrors he went through as a child In the Holocaust, during which he arrived in the Warsaw ghetto with his father Lazer, who was one of the ghetto’s rebellion leaders."
His mother and sister perished in the Holocaust, and he and his father survived. "They were in the last group that managed to escape the terror of the Nazis," said his daughter Roni, "They escaped through the large sewer pipes’ crossing and hid there. Adults used to lift my father on their shoulders so that he wouldn't sink in the deep water."
His son, Eyal, added: "It was very important to dad to share with everyone his escape’s story. In recent years he was ill but very lucid, and made sure to talk to us about continuity. He always mentioned the partisans who continued to help them in the forests, and how a Polish family hid him for many months. Those Polish family members eventually received the badge of Righteous Among the Nations."
Unfortunately time is stronger than anything. The role of all of us, as a nation and as individuals, is to swear that we will continue to tell about the horrors that our ancestors went through - and some of them survived.
To ensure that we will never forget the 5-year-old boy, who instead of playing with his friends in the play yard, ran through the sewers to get his mother a tiny piece of bread that might grant her even one more day.
May we never forget the children who were torn from their mother's arms while separated at the entrance to the camp, womens on the right, mens on the left.
May we never forget the big happy families, who fell into a huge grave in the ground, with one gun shot.
May we never forget, the skinny 8-year-old boy who was smart enough to pretend to be dead, managed to escape from the Germans soldiers in the woods, survived cold, hunger, and death at every corner - and somehow ,ade his way to the Land of Israel.
This year, we will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the independence of the State of Israel. For 75 years, generation after generation, swore to protect, fight, and take an active part in the defense of our house. Entire generations that carry deep scars, unimaginable stories, fears, and above all- pride.
We learned to look at the fear straight in the eyes, that the eternal people are not afraid of a long journey, and that they, in their death, bequeathed life to us.