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Heroes of World War II in Maalot-Tarshiha

Photo: Haim Machi Versano


World War II broke out in Europe in 1939 and wiped out about half of the Jewish population. Some were sent to concentration camps, hidden in forests,   fought with the partisans, joined Allied armies or survived the siege of Leningrad, during which 750,000 people died of starvation.

While the evidence from the Holocaust was extensively documented, the Israeli public became acquainted with the heroic veterans mainly thanks to the waves of immigration to Israel in the 1990s, with the disintegration of the former Soviet Union and the breaking of the Iron Curtain. Since most of them did not speak Hebrew, their story was not revealed to the Israeli public. In collaboration with the Maalot-Tarshiha Municipality, we embarked on a documentary journey following the story of the heroes of World War II from its various sides. We met those who were then boys and girls, boys and girls, and who today chose to build their lives in Israel and in the city of Maalot, and wanted to share in their memories the younger generation._ cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_

The evidence is harsh. Although the documented went through the war in different places, they all tell of hunger, cold, despair, hatred, loss and fear. They tell how the home front became the bomb-absorbing front. Some lost a mother or father, and found themselves alone. From these moments also emerges a spark of humanity, of help and hope. Created a survival that was once in their hearts and evoked hope to build a new and better life, a hope that became a reality when they immigrated to Israel. Among the documented, people are approaching the age of one hundred, and their clear memory is inspiring.

The Autographers is an international artistic documentation project that aims to connect the community with its unique history. Sharing their personal story is our moral duty. "Remember and do not forget," says one of the documenters. "This is our will," they emphasize. "It's a mission to pass these stories on to the next generation, to stay with our eyes open and remember what we've lost." We thank the documentarians who shared with us their personal history, the talented documentarians and the translators who helped bridge the language differences.

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There are events over which time has no effect, which must be kept in memory forever and ever. World War II, which claimed the lives of more than 70 million people, is just such an event for us.

  During the period of the great aliyah in the early 1990s, the city of Maalot Tarshiha absorbed a large number of new immigrants, including many people who were personally harmed by this war. Veterans, home front supporters, people who survived the Leningrad siege, and camp inmates who survived the Holocaust. The Municipality of Maalot Tarshiha saw a supreme value in passing on the legacy of the fighters to future generations, and a lot of commission so that these people receive the recognition, esteem and appreciation they deserve._ cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_

  The Autographers venture gives us a unique glimpse into the painful history of World War II, in order to share the personal testimony of the survivors of the historic event.   Time does not spare anyone, and every year the number of these people decreases, they go to their world and take with them the terrible war event, they leave us too quickly from the time we need to document their memories. Therefore, I see great importance in this venture that gives a place of honor to these heroes in our city, and describes the heroism that is revealed in a time of difficulty and the hope that was in their hearts for the day when the war will end._ cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_

  It is our moral duty to share the documented stories, to remember the price charged by World War II from the world in general and the Jewish community in particular, and to instill values of respect for heroism and solidarity. This venture is also an opportunity to miraculously elevate the veterans living in the city, those who survived the horrors, fought in armies and undergrounds, and those who were in the home front, like the survivors of the Leningrad siege - they survived thanks to resourcefulness, solidity and hope.

  I thank all those involved in the craft, first and foremost - for those who are documented for their contribution and willingness to share their story,   Together they created spectacular products that left a mark on the hearts of us all.

Arkady Pomeranz

Mayor of Maalot-Tarshiha

דבר ראש העיר
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