This week Magen David Adom’s Wish Ambulance team came together for a special and very emotional mission, To assist Mr. Aharon Shechter, a 92-year-old Holocaust Survivor from Petach Tikva, who was invited to the Knesset by Knesset Chairperson MK Amir Ohana and then to Yad Vashem.
After leaving his home in Petach Tikva, Aharon and MDA’s Wish Ambulance team began their journey to Jerusalem. On the way there, Aharon told the ambulance team, MDA Paramedic Meir Valder, and MDA Senior EMT Tomer Bar Levy, about his life during the Holocaust, about family that was killed & making Aliyah to Israel. His army service, the family that he built and his work as a farmer in the Land of Israel. Aharon also told the team of his excitement at going to the Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem for the first time.
On arriving Mr. Shechter met Knesset Chairperson MK Amir Ohana for a meeting, during which he told of the horrors he experienced in Romania, Transnistria and Ukraine, and of his own private victory – when he made Aliyah to Israel, served in the IDF’s first enrollment, and raised a family.
Knesset Chairperson MK Amir Ohana “To imagine Aharon who experienced everything that he did in his childhood but could only dream of a Jewish state, being welcomed here in the office of the Knesset Chairperson, a symbol of the sovereignty of the Jewish State, is a huge privilege for me. In the speech given by Zeev Jabotinsky in Warsaw on the 9th of Av 1938 he said that ‘those who will be able to escape with their souls from the catastrophe will merit the celebratory moment of a huge Jewish celebration, the rebirth and rebuilding of the Jewish State. I don’t know if I will merit this – my son will. I believe this just as I am certain that the sun will rise once more tomorrow.’ The sun that indeed rose again the following day, is you Aharon.”
At the conclusion of the meeting Aharon then headed to the Jerusalem Forest – where they had lunch provided by Uzi Binyan, the owner of Yafa’le restaurant. Afterwards, they visited Yad Vashem, where tour-guide Sharon Elmakayes gave Mr. Shechter a guided tour of the Holocaust Museum. It was emotional to see the museum’s visitors watching Aharon, with a thirst to hear every word that he said.
Survivor Aharon Shechter “I thank MDA’s Wish Ambulance team, Meir Valder, Tomer Bar Levy and Yanki Rozenfeld from the bottom of my heart, for the initiative, the tenderness and the never-ending dedication, as well as to Yonat Daskal Dagan, who is in charge of the project – and who ensured every detail in order to help me on Holocaust Remembrance Day which is a particularly difficult day for me. The memory and remembrance of the Holocaust must continue into the next generations and for eternity. During the visit today in the Knesset and in Yad Vashem, I witnessed the will to care for and to confer the memory of the Holocaust, and this gives a great deal of hope, because the horrors, the torment and the suffering that we experienced during the Holocaust in the Ghettos and Death Camps in Romania, Poland, Hungary and all the other places will never be forgotten. I thank the Knesset Chairperson MK Amir Ohana and Yad Vashem for the warm welcome, and for being prepared to hear my testimony and act to memorialize those killed.”
MDA Paramedic Meir Valder and MDA Senior EMT Tomer Bar Levy “We were very excited to assist Mr. Aharon Shechter to travel to Jerusalem, and to accompany him throughout the day. We heard about his childhood that ended abruptly at age 10 when the Jews were deported from his village in Romania, about the horrors of the past, and the inhuman conditions that he survived, and we were very emotional when he told us he was proud to have fought in Israel’s wars, built his lifetime’s work in farming, and of course a large family. It isn’t every day that we have the privilege to actively participate in remembering and preservation. Mr. Aharon Shechter’s visit to the Knesset and Yad Vashem today is precisely this privilege.”