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WIZO honours survivors and rescuers

  • CommunityWIZOYomHashoah
WIZO Johannesburg honoured Madeleine Heitner, who passed away recently at the age of 100, among other survivors and righteous individuals at its Yom HaShoah commemoration at Beyachad in Johannesburg on 29 April.
by OWN CORRESPONDENT | May 09, 2019

Madeleine, the mother of the late Rene Heitner (a well-known paediatrician), was an amazing woman by all accounts, as well as a survivor of the Holocaust.

According to WIZO (the Women’s International Zionist Organisation), Yom HaShoah is the opportunity to reflect on the systematic murder of six million European Jews, the modern paradigm of man’s inhumanity to man.

Guest speaker for the morning, Willie Criveano, was born in Romania and grew up in Israel, graduating from Ben-Gurion University as an electrical engineer. Criveano, who has lived in South Africa since 1976, showed videos of the ceremony at Yad Vashem where he was presented with a certificate and medal honouring his late father, Theodor Criveano, who was named one of the righteous among the nations.

The righteous, honoured by Yad Vashem, are non-Jews who took great risks to save Jews during the Holocaust. Rescue took many forms, and they came from different nations, religions, and walks of life. What they had in common was that they protected their Jewish neighbours at a time when hostility and indifference prevailed.

According to WIZO, they stood in stark contrast to the mainstream of indifference and hostility that prevailed during the Holocaust, showing extraordinary courage in upholding human values. Contrary to the general trend, these rescuers regarded Jews as fellow human beings who came within the bounds of their universe of obligation.

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