Never Again

We’re Here to Protect Every Israeli and Jew Hundreds of soldiers listened to Major Assaf, a combat pilot, who told the story of his grandfather—a holocaust survivor who lived through the horrors, and eventually started a family in Israel. “The fact that I’m standing here and telling this story as a pilot in the IAF is meaningful to me”

Lilach Gonen

The grandfather of Major Assaf, an F-16 pilot, lost his entire family in the holocaust. The arduous way from the Lodge Ghetto to the concentration camps was made with his best friend, and together they survived until the end of the war and made their way to Israel.

Today, almost 70 years later, his grandson-Deputy Commander of the “Knights of the North” combat squadron-stood in front of hundreds of IAF soldiers, and told them the story of a friendship that survived the horrors of the war. “I feel a responsibility to continue telling their story to future generations”, said Major Assaf. “I know that this would be important to them”.

The duo, who have known each other since childhood, each chose to permeate the holocaust in his own way. Assaf’s grandfather, Shlomo Zalel, was interested in drawings that depicted situations and moments from the war. His friend, Itzhak Pik, published a memoir that told the story of the two. “I had many conversations about the holocaust with my grandfather and Pik, we had a very special connection”, said Major Assaf, who complemented the lecture with pictures of his grandfather and with excerpts from Pik’s book. “The fact that I’m standing here and telling this story as a pilot of the IAF is meaningful to me”.

“We’re on the watch”, added Colonel Nir, Commander of Ramat David Airbase. “I say, never again. We’re here to protect every Israeli and Jew”.