“The Holocaust is the darkest chapter in the Jewish history”
Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, IAF Commander, returned last week from Germany. He spoke at a moving ceremony on “Dock 17” in Berlin and visited Auschwitz Extermination Camp for the first time
Major General Amir Eshel, IAF Commander, returned from an official visit to Germany and Poland as a guest of the German Air Force Commander and the Poland Chief of General Staff and Air Force Commander.
Many visits are conducted as part of IAF’s cooperation with other forces around the world. The schedule is always tight and many meetings and tours dealing with strategic and operational issues are conducted. The IAF shares its operational experience and takes part in joint training exercises.
This particular visit had an additional significance: the cooperation between the IAF and its German equivalent has been built for years, empowering both forces and revolving around various topics such as technological development, aerial defense, instruction and trainings.
The 50th anniversary of that historical relationship was marked last week by various events which climaxed with a ceremony attended by Israel’s President and its German counterpart. The first-of-its-kind, unique visit revolved around the bridge between the holocaust and the strategic cooperation between the Air Forces, 70 years after.
During the visit, which began in Berlin and ended in Poland, IAF Commander flew on two jets that aren’t operated by the IAF: the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Mig-29.
The forces also reviewed the lessons of Operation “Protective Edge” and Israel’s unique moral commitment during warfare and the effort put in order to prevent enemy civilians casualties.
First Time on the Ground of Auschwitz
“Dozens of years have passed since thousands of Berliner Jews heard, here, in this station, the rattling wheels of the trains and saw the terrified faces of those who were sent to the extermination camps and we, the second and third generation of those Jews, do not forget. And we will never forget”, said Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel at “Dock 17”, one of the main centers for the expulsion of the Jews of Berlin. 50,000 Jews were exiled through this dock.
“The Holocaust is the darkest chapter in the Jewish history. We lost six millions of our people. This period is our national trauma. For over 70 years we carry this heavy burden on our shoulders, from year to year, from generation to generation. In the name of the Israeli Air Force, in the name of the entire Israel Defense Forces, in the name of the State of Israel and without pretension in the name of the entire Jewish people, I can promise that Jews will never again be helpless. If threatened, we will know how to defend ourselves. If attacked, we will respond and destroy those who try to harm us. In the name of the IAF, I thank the German government for its years-long support of Israel and its security and financial needs”, said IAF Commander.
10 years ago, Maj. Gen. Eshel led the fly over Auschwitz, but has never set foot on the ground of the cursed camp. This time, he toured the extermination camp and met with IDF delegation in the place. “I salute the memory of the good Jews whose last life chapter ended here, in this place”.