The First Liberation Day in the DP Camps


Livik's opinion was clear: There was no reason to celebrate or to put on a festive face, since "joy has been silenced in the Jewish heart, our words are still full of sorrow"... Shmuel Grinberg, in contrast, agreed that She'arit Hapleta would soon be marking Liberation Day... but warned against losing the historical perspective of what was happening. Even though anti-Semitism had not disappeared and Jewish suffering had not ended, "we neither have nor want to weaken the great historic truth, the great struggle against the monster of human oppression, for our spiritual and moral liberation". Leo Schwarz, who took part in the meeting, explained: "One of the main questions was, should the liberation be commemorated today as a day of mourning or a day of thanksgiving. There was little disagreement about the memory of the murdered martyrs... concerning celebrations of Liberation Day there were differences among groups within She'arit Hapleta, but the victors were those whose psychology had already been influenced by the positive dialectic of the future”. Most members of the Central Committee supported the declaration of "a memorial day combined with the liberation, which must express our grief and bitterness over the great tragedy of European Jewry, and simultaneously be a day of thanksgiving, which will be celebrated as a national symbol and will emphasize that the Jewish people still lives". It was decided to observe the 14th of Adar as Liberation Day (15th May in 1946), as a memorial and victory day.

From: Mankovitz, Ze'ev, Ideology and Politics Among She'arit Hapleta in the American Zone of Occupation in Germany 1945-1946, Ph.D. thesis, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1987, pp. 279-280 (Hebrew).


Source: Yad Vashem