Air force commander, Maj. Gen. Eliezer Shkedi visited the house of Aviva and Alex Bartel, as part of the “Flower for the Survivor” project
Hila Polka | Nikolai Avrutov
When Alex repatriated to Israel in 1947, he enlisted to the “Air-Service” of the “Haganah” (a Jewish paramilitary organization, which later became the core of the Israel Defence Forces). “I was supposed to join the ground forces, but when I mentioned that I used to work in the Messerschmitt factory, I was sent to the air-forces right away”, he tells.
At the end of the visit, Maj. Gen. Shkedi presented the couple with a gift: a picture of an Air Force flyover the Birkenau concentration camp (where several millions of Jews were murdered by the Nazi regime during WWII).
“It is a great honour for us to be here today”, said Maj. Gen. Shkedi. “On behalf of me, the group present here today, the air force, and the entire IDF: we are proud of you, and we are with you in heart and soul”.
“Flower for the Survivor” campaign, is a joint project of the education division of the IDF, Holocaust survivors Foundation, and the “Ghetto Fighters’ House”. This is its second consecutive year running. As part of the campaign, soldiers and officers of the IDF learn about the history of the holocaust survivors by visiting the “Ghetto Fighters’ House” museum, listening to survivor’s stories and testimonies, and attend a workshop with a social worker where the significance of the holocaust and its impact on the Israeli society is discussed.
Finally, the soldiers meet with survivors, and give each survivor a flower, and award them with a certificate of gratitude for their contribution to the building of the state of Israel.