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Inna Rogatchi's Film at the Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust & the Heroism in Helsinki

Posted 16/4/2015

April 2015

INNA ROGATCHI'S FILM AT THE DAY OF REMEMBRANCE OF THE HOLOCAUST & THE HEROISM IN HELSINKI

A Special Screening of The Lessons of Survival, a film by Inna Rogatchi on Simon Wiesenthal took place in Helsinki, Finland as a part of the Yom HaShoah commemoration conducted by the Helsinki Jewish Community together with the Embassy of Israel in Finland. This day known as the Day for the Remembrance of the Holocaust and the Heroism is a special date in Israel where it has been introduced as the Holocaust Remembrance Day by a special law in early 1950s.

Yom HaShoa Poster

A memorial ceremony took place in the Helsinki Jewish Community Centre next to the memorial for Holocaust victims, and a traditional Israeli ceremony of lighting six large candles in memory of the six million victims of the Holocaust has been lit, as well.

Yom HaShoah ceremony in Helsinki       Yom HaShoah ceremony in Helsinki



Yom HaShoah ceremony in Helsinki

Yom HaShoah ceremony in Helsinki Jewish Community, April 2015

Yom HaShoah ceremony in Helsinki

In his opening speech, H.E. Dan Ashbel, Ambassador of Israel in Finland and Estonia, emphasised that in comparison with International Holocaust Day which is commemorated world-wide on January 27th, marking the date of the liberation of Auschwitz, Yom HaShoah as the Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust and the Heroism is known in Israel, is 'a family affair' when Jewish communities both in Israel and world-wide remember their own people, those who had been exterminated during the horror of the Holocaust. "As far as we would remember them, every single one, by their names, those people would be still among the living, as one is alive as long, as he or she is remembered by those who survived them, in generations to come". Ambassador Dan Ashbel told the audience: "When thinking on unparalleled Jewish heroism during and connected with the Holocaust, we think on our Jewish heroes who exemplified the effort of their generation and led the nation's efforts to resist the evil, doing it many years and decades after the end of the WWII. The one of such men was Simon Wiesenthal whom I had privilege to know and to talk to, and I also spoke on the occasion of the eulogy for him in Vienna when Wiesenthal died there 10 years ago, before his body had been flown to Israel for burial. I will always remember the absence of bitterness in Wiesenthal who had not projected any desire for vengeance, ever, but was always looking for justice and insisted on that. This was the major lesson and the major message that I've got from that truly great man".

H.E. Dan Ashbel, Ambassador of Israel to Finland and Estonia, during his opening speech at the Yom HaShoah ceremony. Helsinki, April 2015

H.E. Dan Ashbel, Ambassador of Israel to Finland and Estonia, during his opening speech at the Yom HaShoah ceremony. Helsinki, April 2015. 
© The Rogatchi Foundation

"I am especially glad that today, we will be seeing Inna Rogatchi's film, her work devoted to Simon Wiesenthal on which Inna did work for many years. I am sure that we all would have several more things to think about after seeing this important film", - said H.E. Dan Ashbel, Ambassador of Israel in Finland.

Yaron Nadbornik, president of the Helsinki Jewish community speaking at the Yom HaShoah ceremony

Yaron Nadbornik, president of the Helsinki Jewish community speaking at the Yom HaShoah ceremony. 
© The Rogatchi Foundation

In his speech, Yaron Nadbornik, president of the Helsinki Jewish community, emphasised that "we are living in very challenging times now, and these challenges are growing larger and more acute rapidly". He pointed out how lucky all Jews are for having Israel as their home "in case, things would go seriously wrong in their respective countries. I only wish that the Jews during WWII would have had such an alternative and such an opportunity, too. But as it happened, they did not have it. The only opportunity they had was to fight - and they did, with incredible courage and honour starting with the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in April 1943 a date which has become a mark for Yom HaShoa in Israel, and consequently, in all Jewish communities world-wide".

In her introductory note, Inna Rogatchi also talked about the heroic part of the Yom HaShoah ceremonies and on the role played by Simon Wiesenthal in pursuing truth and justice on behalf of hundreds of thousands of victims of the Holocaust and their families whose burden of grief and sorrow he had taken upon himself. Inna was telling the people who had gathered in Helsinki, what Simon Wiesenthal, with whom she and her husband were privileged to be friendly for many years, told them about that burden which he had taken upon himself. She also told the Finnish audience the history of the making of this film and the role which was played in this special project by the leading late Finnish cinematographer Peter von Bagh who initiated the project asking Inna to make this film on and with Simon Wiesenthal many years ago.

Inna Rogatchi addressing the audience. Helsinki

Inna Rogatchi addressing the audience. Helsinki. 
© The Rogatchi Foundation

In her speech, Inna also pointed out the relevance of the film in the present-day context of sharply rising anti-Semitism world-wide. "As I am presenting this film around the world, and am talking about this presentation, I reflect on the development of the currect situation around us. You all know what's going on in the world today towards the Jewish people when we are witnessing the spike of violent and open anti-Semitism all around the world. And the speed of the changes of that alarming phenomenon is stunning. Just yesterday, I was talking and writing on 'fashionable' and 'funny' anti-Semitism as a new phenomena, today I have to speak and write about so-called 'natural' anti-Semitism when a girl of Jewish origin in Stanford university is asked in a matter-of-fact and business-as-usual fashion when her candidacy is considered for a Student Union council there: 'So, being Jewish, how do you intend to vote on such and such an issue?..' Being Jewish... the purest form of racism at a well-known university in the USA."

"And the man who will be speaking to all of you together, and to each of you in particular, from the screen, in a minute, selfless and modest, strong and determined Jewish hero Simon Wiesenthal still gives us exemplary lessons on how to resist evil and evil inclinations. He will teach The Lessons of Survival to us all" - said Inna Rogatchi in her speech.

The film has been received by the audience with incredible interest, as well as a very warm and emotional reception, when strong men were telling after the film, with their eyes moist, "The strength of a single person. The meaning of an individual's strength and devotion, that incredible and so very important simple vital significance of one's life dedication that the world would not forget the destiny of its people. This is an incredible and ever-lasting legacy for generations to come, and for the whole world to see and remember".

Yom HaShoah ceremony in Helsinki, Finland, April 2015

Yom HaShoah ceremony in Helsinki, Finland, April 2015. 
© The Rogatchi Foundation

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