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September 21, 1984 - Image 35

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-09-21

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS Friday, September 21, 1984

NEWS

Leaders among
the righteous?

Washington (JTA) — Secretary
of State George Shultz and Elie
Wiesel, chairman of the U.S.
Holocaust Memorial Council,
made the same point during a
ceremony Tuesday night opening
the conference on "Faith in
Humankind: Rescuers of Jews
During the Holocaust."
"What a terrible indictment
that hardly any rescuers are to be
found among the statesmen and
leaders of the period," Shultz told
more than 1,100 persons at the
Kennedy Center. Wiesel noted
that among those who had the
"courage to care" there were few
superior officers, few renowned
writers, few influential politi-
cians.
Shultz, who pointed out that
Nazi Germany ended the belief
that high education and culture
will prevent a country from fal-
ling into racism and barbarity,
said: It may be that our real bul-
wark against tyranny and evil is
not high culture but the good
sense and humane instincts of av-
erage citizens who know the dif-
ference between right and
wrong."
The ceremony, which included
musical performances by violinist
Erick Friedman and pianist
Emanuel Ax, and readings by
Carol Kane and Werner Klem-
perer, honored the rescuers of
Jews during the Holocaust. Dr.
John Silber, president of Boston
University, called them a "small
light in a vast darkness.'
Dr. Yitzhak Arad, chairman of
the Directorate of the Yad Vas-
hem in Jerusalem, said the Yad
Vashem has discovered more than
5,000 rescuers and trees have
been planted in their honor at the
Holocaust memorial as "the
righteous among the nations."
Seventy-five of the rescuers
were present and stood to loud
applause while a chorus sang
"Ani Maamin."
Lillinian Gaffney of Belgium,
whose parents rescued 30 Jews,
said they had believed it was "not
only the right thing but the only
thing to do." Her mother, Ger-
maine Belinne, participated in
the conference.
Bayard Rustin, the civil rights
leader and a member of the
Holocaust Council, noted that to
rescue Jews required a "small
act." Wiesel added that nations
also could have taken small steps,
saying the Stake Department
could have given more visas to
Jews.
Wiesel stressed that "Jews also
tried to save Jews" and that the
State of Israel demonstrates to the
world how a country can "save
communities from persecution
and death."
Wiesel said that while the
Holocaust was a "unique Jewish
tragedy, it has universal implica-
tions." The same point was made
by Shultz. He said the principles
of the rescuers are being upheld
today by Andrei Sakharov who
gave up a high position in the
Soviet Union to protest human
rights violations; Soviet citizens
who are administering the Alek-
sandr Solzhenitzyn Fund for
families of dissidents even though
it means jail; the mothers in

.

Continued on next page

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35

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