Branko Lustig, the Oscar-winning producer of “Schindler’s List” and a Holocaust survivor, was named Mensch for All Seasons during an International Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony on Jan. 29 at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills.
Gerald Scarfe the British cartoonist who published the sketch of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu building a wall on the bodies of Palestinians and using their blood as cement, has denied that he is or ever was an anti-Semite. Scarfe said: "I am not, and never have been, anti-Semitic." Fair enough.
Auschwitz survivor Liza Zajac Novera — who goes by Lea — was on an anniversary cruise with her husband to Iguazu Falls in September 1977, when she got the call. Her sister-in-law told her that armed men had come to their apartment in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and had taken away her two sons, law students.
As I address you today, I am both bereft and optimistic. I am bereft for the obvious reasons one feels the deep, unfathomable sense of loss for what the Holocaust represents: the taking away from this world of 6 million innocent Jews; the destruction of the European communities and cultures they represented; the murder of approximately 3 million other victims persecuted by the Nazis; the political assassination of 3 million Poles; the death of the rich history of Jewish life in Poland; the severing or even amputation of Jewish-Polish relationships that had evolved for generations; and more. I could easily go on.
Late last month, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 27 delegates of a weeklong interfaith mission from greater Los Angeles gathered in a circle at Yad Vashem's Valley of Communities, a monument carved out of bedrock to honor Jewish communities obliterated in the Holocaust. The cold morning foreshadowed the upcoming Jerusalem snowstorm, and the leaders representing Jewish, Catholic, Protestant and Muslim denominations warmed one another with words of conciliation and prayer, countering the chilly air and the chilling images of Jewish genocide they had seen a few moments earlier at the Yad Vashem museum.