Memorial Service of Lithuanian Jews
28 October 2007
Since the 1940s the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel annually holds its memorial service to remember the Jews of Lithuania who most of them (95%) lost their lives in the Holocaust.
This year the service was held in the Ramat Gan Diamond Theatre. Over five-hundred Litvaks participated, Holocaust survivors and their younger generations. Mrs. Sima Katz from New York attended.
Speakers were: Mr. Joseph Melamed, Director of the Association, who spoke of the lack of punishment of Lithuanian war criminals, whereas the Lithuanian government demanded from Israel the extradition of Dr. Yitzhak Arad, a ghetto warrior partisan in an argument that he murdered Lithuanians in partisan activities. Dr. Melamed reminded us of the refusal of the Lithuanian authorities to act regarding the return of stolen property from Lithuanian Jews.
Knesset Member, Professor Avishai Braverman, honored us as guest speaker of the evening. He spoke of his family roots in Lithuania, told of his mother who graduated from the Hebrew Gymnasia in Mariampole and came on aliyah in 1938. His father was from the Bialystok area and came on aliyah in 1936, established a carpentry shop in Ramat Gan where our speaker was raised and later became president of Ben Gurion University. Professor Braverman's talk focused on problems of Israeli youths' education and the future of the country.
Every year six memorial candles are lit. The ceremony was prepared by our board member, Rahel Levin, and the master of ceremonies was a representative of the grandchildren's generation, Eldad Zion, a student of history at Tel Aviv University. Long time volunteers of the Association were honored with lighting five candles:
Nehama Freed Lipansky
David Hyaat – Director of the Association in Jerusalem
Sonia Levin Rosenkrantz
Moshe Mosel – active in the ghetto underground
Yehudit Elrat from Shavli.
Rona Borosh, studying history at Tel Aviv University and granddaughter of Professor Dov Levin, lit the sixth candle.
"Kaddish" and "Al Mele Rahamim" was said by a participant in the audience with all standing in silence. In closing Shula Natan performed with songs and ended with everyone singing "HaTikva".