- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 28, 2003

Holocaust children

Israeli Ambassador Daniel Ayalon saluted hundreds of child survivors of the Holocaust as heroes who displayed extraordinary strength against “inconceivable cruelty.”

“The challenges you have overcome are unimaginable. The fact that you are here today, reclaiming the lives that were stolen from you, demonstrates your tremendous valor and fortitude,” he told a gathering of Jewish adults who, as children during World War II, were saved from the Nazis.

The International Conference of Child Holocaust Survivors and Their Families, which met in Washington this week, drew about 500 men and women who owe their lives to those who risked death by hiding them in their basements or attics, in the haylofts of their barns, sometimes in woods and sometimes in sewers. Children were even taken into convents or orphanages, where they pretended to be Christians.

The conference was organized by the Anti-Defamation League and the Hidden Child Foundation, a support group for the survivors.

The foundation, on its Web site (www.adl.org/hidden/start.asp), says it is devoted to bringing the survivors together “to share memories, help those who were too young to remember and, most important, tell the world that we were witness to the atrocities committed against our people.”

The ambassador praised the “bravery and courage you displayed in the face of the most inconceivable cruelty.”

“You were saved from the atrocities of the ghettos, concentration camps and labor camps due to the courage of those who risked their own lives to save yours,” Mr. Ayalon said.

“You, however, have endured a different kind of torture: separation from your families, most of whom you never saw again [and] being forced to live a life that was not your own, stripped of your identity and robbed of your heritage.”

Mr. Ayalon said Jews throughout history have “experienced the best and worst of humanity.”

“We have known golden ages and times of calm and prosperity, as well as periods of oppression, hatred and destruction,” he said. “We have survived due to the strength of our spirit and our eternal faith. Your stories of bravery and courage epitomize the passion of the Jewish soul.”

Mr. Ayalon linked the legacy of the child survivors with the future of Israel.

“Together we share a mission: not just upholding the security and well-being of Israel but ensuring the future of the Jewish people,” he said. “This can only be done through education. We have lost too many through persecution and destruction for us to lose future generations through assimilation and detachment from Jewish identity.”

Mr. Ayalon called for a joint venture between Israel and Jews in other nations.

“Israel is not only a Jewish state, but a state for Jews,” he said.

Promoting Brazil

U.S. and Brazilian financial officials met in Washington this week to try to boost the economies of both countries as Brazil slips into a recession.

Treasury Department officials praised economic reforms under way in Brazil when they met with their partners Wednesday. But yesterday, reports from Brazil said South America’s largest country posted its second quarter of economic decline, marking a recession by standard economic definitions.

At the meeting of the Group for Growth, Treasury’s undersecretary for international affairs, John Taylor, expressed U.S. support for efforts by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to cut his country’s bloated pension system and reform its complex tax system.

“The Lula administration is taking very significant steps to increase economic growth in Brazil,” Mr. Taylor said.

Joaquim V. Levy, secretary of Brazil’s treasury, and Marcos Lisboa, secretary for economic policy, said they hope a U.S. economic recovery will help all nations in the Western Hemisphere.

“The strength of the U.S. economy provides convincing evidence of the importance of competition to foster economic growth,” Mr. Lisboa said.

In Brazil yesterday, government statistics showed that the economy had declined 1.6 percent from April to June. That contraction followed a 0.6 percent decline from January to March.

A public opinion poll this week showed that 68 percent of voters support Mr. Lula da Silva’s economic reforms.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail [email protected].

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