President Reuven Ruvi Rivlin hosted Abdallah Chatila, who purchased Hitler artifacts which will be held by Yad Vashem, at Beit HaNasi
President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today hosted Abdallah Chatila, the Lebanese-born Swiss businessman who bought artifacts associated with Adolf Hitler that auctioned two weeks ago, which will be held by Yad Vashem. World Chairman of Keren Hayesod Sam Grundwerg and Chairman of Yad Vashem Avner Shalev also participated in the event.
The president thanked Mr Chatila for his important act and for the significant thought that stood behind it, saying “your donation is of great importance at this time, when people are trying to deny historical truth. These artifacts, which you are generously making available to Yad Vashem, will help convey the legacy of the Holocaust to the next generation who will not meet survivors.”
The president added, “what you did was seemingly so simple, but this act of grace shows the whole world how to fight the glorification of hatred and incitement against other people. It was a truly human act. I know you have been thanked many times, but it was important for me to say it loud and clear here at Beit HaNasi in Jerusalem – we appreciate it and thank you for it very much.”
Abdallah Chatila told the president “Mr President, it is a great honor to be here. When I read about the artifacts being for sale, I immediately thought I have to buy them and destroy them. Then I thought I have no right to decide what to do with the items, and am so glad they are now at Yad Vashem. I feel a shiver when I understand how important this is for the Jewish people, but I think there is a wider message for the whole world, that ‘never again’ is not a meaningless slogan. Through acts such as this, we can ensure that these things never happen again.”
EJA chairman, Rabbi Menachem Margolin said during the meeting that “In a cynical world, such a noble act of kindness, generosity and solidarity bowled him over”. “it is the first time in years” He continued ” that someone is properly hearing our pain and is taking action because of it.”
“Rabbi Margolin thanked Keren Hayesod for taking the action of Mr. Chatila and making sure this noble thing will become an educational message for the generations to come and documented in and kept by Yad VaShem in Jerusalem.
Chair of Yad Vashem Avner Shalev thanked the president for the meeting and Mr Chatila for his act, saying. “What you did as a spontaneous act ensures that these artifacts do not end up in the wrong hands. You stopped that, and brought them to the place where history is told and where the next generation is educated. Thank you very much.”
Sam Grundwerg, World Chairman of Keren Hayesod: “What you have done by this action is take a very dark chapter from Jewish history and the history of humanity, and shed light on it by andvancing tolerance and hope. You reminded humanity that there are good and decent people in the world who seek tolerance and justice”.
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, will celebrate Chanukah on Monday 19 December by lighting the flame on a large menorah in front of the European Commission’s headquarters in the Brussels EU quarter.
As part of the cultural agenda of Brussels, the city’s Mayor Philippe Close will light the second candle of Chanukah.
The event is seen as a strong sign for the European Jewish community in the wake of the EU’ clear commitment to ensuring a Jewish future and fostering Jewish life as laid out in the EU Commission’s new strategy for combatting resurgent antisemitism and fostering Jewish life in Europe.
European ambassadors and civil servants are expêcted to attend the event.
The lighting, which is organized in partnership with the European Jewish Association and the City of Brussels, will take place on Monday at 18:00 on Schuman Square and will be followed by a concert from the singer Haim Tzvi.
Chanukah, the Jewish festival of lights, is one of the most popular Jewish holidays worldwide. Candles are lit over 8 days to remember the miracle of one day’s worth of oil lasting eight following the reconsecration of the Temple in Jerusalem. Its message of hope, light and emancipation resonates are universal and timely. Celebrations worldwide are attended by heads of states who often light their own candles.
In addition to Monday’s lighting, Chanukah will also be celebrated the next day in the European Commission with the presence of the European Commissioner Janez Lenarčič, honoring Hias Europe, the world’s oldest refugee organisation, first established in the 1880s to help Russian Jews fleeing from pogroms resettle in the United States. Since then, HIAS Europe has had a strong presence throughout Europe, resettling hundreds of thousands of European Jews fleeing from violence and conflict. Today, HIAS Europe is a global humanitarian organization with thousands of employees in 22 countries dedicated to helping forcibly displaced persons, irrespective of their background. During more than a century of activity, HIAS Europe has helped more than 4.5 million people escape persecution worldwide »
EuroChanukah is organised every year by the European Jewish Community Centre (EJCC).
It’s a challenging time for Jewish communities in Europe. Anti-Semitism is on the rise as populism and the politics of the lowest common denominator are gaining traction. Our communities often need round the clock protection and our practices and customs such as keeping Kosher are under pressure from increasing political interference.
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