The traditional annual commemoration ceremony for the victims of shoa and a meeting of Jewish Zilina natives took place on Saturday and Sunday June 27-28, 2009 in Zilina. Even the world economy recession did not stop many natives to come to Zilina from all around the world, from Canada to Israel, from Italy to Switzerland.
All events started with a lecture on history of povazskych Jews (Povazie is region that spreads by the river Vah in the north-western part of Slovakia) given by Mrs.Holander. She depicted the history of Jews from this region based on experiences she has from genealogical studies, she has done on her own family. Interestingly prepared lecture gave an inside view on the life of these people from their early settlements up to the presence, when they live scattered all around the world.
The sale and presentation of a newly published book “Jews in Zilina” added to a pleasant atmosphere of the lecture.
Saturday evening then belonged to a festive dinner, accompanied with many discussions, talks and meetings with relatives, friends and guests in the hotel Polom.
The commemoration ceremony for all the shoa victims started in the commemoration hall at the Jewish cemetery in Zilina where all walls are full of names of those who perished during the Second World War either in concentration camps or fighting with the others against fascism. Many important guests participated, among others his Excellency Ambassador of the State Israel in Slovakia Zev Booker, Mr. Chaim Levi, the consul of the State Israel in Slovakia, Mr. Jan Blanar the President of Žilina self-governing region, Mr. Ivan Harman the mayor of Zilina, Mr. Martin Rodan the consul of Slovakia in the State of Israel, Mr. Pavol Mestan, the director of Jewish museum in Bratislava and the rabbi Zev Stiefel from Piestany.
The solemn chant of psalms sung by Juraj Neufedl nad his son, accompanied by three singers from Brno, opened the commemoration ceremony. The speeches given by Mr.Pavel Frankl (full text) and Mr. Martin Rodan not only paid the tribute to those who perished during the Second World War, but also alerted everyone to be involved in the defense against any kind of extremism and the racial hatred. As it became a tradition, Arial Klein lit up seven candles in memory of grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters, friends, neighbors, 1.5 million children that were killed and of ordinary people that helped in many ways to save their Jewish friends. Zev Stiefel prayed for all victims at the end of this part of the ceremony.
After the first part of the ceremony we moved to the site of the monument for holocaust victims, which stands near the place of the former detention camp, from where more than 18.000 Jews were deported to concentration camps from April to October 1942. The anthems of Slovakia and Israel opened this part of the ceremony followed by speeches of Mr. Harman (full text), Mr. Booker, Mr.Mestan and Tibor Mahrik – the pastor of the Brethren Church.
We thank all who participated in the ceremony and paid the tribute to all the victims.
The Jewish religious community in Zilina.