Next week, Holocaust survivors, GI liberators and soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces are scheduled to come together through a Friends of the IDF (FIDF) mission to Poland and Israel. 

The American and Israeli soldiers and survivors, along with FIDF supporters, will leave May 5 – on Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day – for the eight-day “From Holocaust to Independence” mission. They will begin in the Polish city of Tarnow, once the home of thousands of Jews whose steps the delegates will trace, and continue to Krakow’s Jewish ghetto, and then to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camps. 

The delegation will then fly on an Israeli Air Force transport jet from Poland to Israel, where they will commemorate Israel’s Memorial Day, Yom Hazikaron, for fallen soldiers and victims of terror, on May 11 and celebrate Israel’s 68th Independence Day, Yom Ha’atzmaut, on May 12. 

As we complete our Passover observance this weekend, let’s remember this more recent journey of our people and recognize the individuals in our midst who lost loved ones during journeys similar to those of Tarnow’s Jews.  

This Sunday, there are multiple Yom Hashoah commemorations where we can gather as a community to remember those whose lives were stolen away from them. We are their future, and we need to keep telling their stories so they are never forgotten.

 Although we may not be able to join the survivors, GI liberators and IDF soldiers on their trip to Poland and Israel, we can come together here to mark these important observances. (Click here for details on local Yom Hashoah, Yom Hazikaron  and Yom Ha’atzmaut programs.) 

FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir says about this delegation, “It will tell the story of our near-extinction in Europe, the creation of a Jewish homeland, and the new generation of a Jewish army that watches over our legacy today, making sure that ‘never again’ and ‘never forget’ are not just phrases, but rather promises.”

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