We are gathered here today, 20,000 people, members
of different religions and nations, leaders and citizens, at the “March
of the Living”, an impressive and inspiring demonstration of solidarity
I arrived here today from Jerusalem,
the capital of the State of Israel – the only place in the world where Jews have the right and capability
to defend themselves by themselves.
With me from Israel are Holocaust survivors. Men and women who survived persecution, torture, mental and
physical degradation; true heroes who experienced the death marches,
the deportations and searches, who survived ghettos, Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Bergen-Belsen, valleys
of death, and concentration and death camps whose
monstrous names are carved in blood in the history of our people. Men
and women – who found the strength to immigrate to Israel, fight
for its revival, establish their homes there and educate children, grandchildren
and great grandchildren there.
I asked them to include with them in the delegation
their grandchildren who are serving in the Israel
Defense Forces. And so Holocaust survivors stand here among us today
– again, on this cursed land, surrounded by people in uniform.
But this time, these are not German SS soldiers lusting to murder, but the grandchildren of the survivors –
soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces – the army of the free and
sovereign Jewish State.
I turn today to these grandchildren – and their
friends – Jewish youngsters from Israel and the Diaspora.
You are standing here with your heads bowed, but standing
in pride. Many of you, probably with eyes filled with tears. Do not
stop those tears. Let them flow, and remember them. Remember the pain
and rage which prompted them. Take this with you, to your homes, and
tell it to your friends, neighbors, acquaintances and strangers.
You had the privilege of being born into a reality
in which the Jewish people have a state. It will be incumbent on you
to tell of the Holocaust when there is no longer anyone to provide first-hand
testimony. You – the link between the generation of the Holocaust
and Revival and future generations – have the duty to bequeath
the lesson, memories and stories, to underscore the importance of the
existence of the Jewish State.
Always remember the victims – and never forget
the murderers. Do not forget how millions of Jews were marched to their
deaths while the world stood silent; how thousands of Jews floundered
in stormy waters searching in vain for sanctuary while the world stood
silent; how the borders were closed and how the Jews were herded again
behind barbed-wire fences – into detention camps in Cyprus; how
so many perished because they could not reach their homeland, and fell
victim to the policy of the White Paper, a policy of capitulation to
Arab pressure of that time.
I am certain that all my colleagues – world
leaders – remember how the world stood by in silence. Do not let
them forget – remember the silence of the world.
And remember one more thing – remember who you
are: free Jewish youngsters, members of a nation which is spread throughout
all continents – and I hope a day will come when we will all be
living in the Jewish State, in Israel. Indeed, today our people are
scattered throughout all continents and in countless countries, but
their hearts are in one place: the country which is its own –
the State of Israel, the Jewish State.
The flag of this state – the blue and white flag
which you now hold in your hands, fluttering strongly and proudly in
the breeze – this is the flag which was so poignantly missing
60 years ago.
Remember this. Do not ever forget this.