It must be: Israeli President Isaac Herzog spoke in the German Bundestag (Parliament) in Berlin on September 6, 2022, at a 50th year memorial service for the Israeli athletes who were brutally murdered by the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) at the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972. Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and numerous cabinet ministers were in attendance in the filled hall.
President Herzog’s address focused primarily on the 11 Olympic martyrs and their families, but also mentioned that we must never forget that our people lost at least six million during the Holocaust. He himself is a descendant of survivors. “We are a nation of remembrance,” he said before praying the Kaddish (mourners’ prayer) while all stood.
Everything the Israeli president and representatives of the German government said spoke to my heart and I completely agree with the good thought about lasting memory.
Especially profound for me was the weighty word remembrance. Born in 1930, I lived through the hell of the Holocaust in Europe. Painful wounds of the years-long persecution I experienced and witnessed, the lives sacrificed in my own family, the denial of all human rights–one hardly wants to remember it, but the knowledge is there and must remain.
My generation is dying out. New generations spared such horrors often hear false versions via the media and even outright denial of our history.
It is natural to try to remember events and times that brought joy for us and our loved ones, but we must also not forget those periods that brought us unending pain. That is part of our true history. This is also for the sake of preventing the repetition of hatred and hostility. I am grateful to both honorable presidents and the distinguished assembly in Berlin for their acknowledgement of my duty and pain.
I support sincerely this honest remembrance, likewise the unity in upholding common human rights and true freedom–it is what I strive and battle for with heart and hand. May I be able to say some day, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7).
As a thankful member of my people Israel, I do also pray for the future and sing: “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Ps. 27:2 ).