Sharon Speech At Birkenau
(May 5, 2005)
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 and remembrance.
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.
Source: Office of the Prime Minister