Speech Delivered by Ms. Sherry Zilbergeld, Consul of the Consulate General of Israel in Shanghai
Ladies and Gentlemen, my name is Sherry Zilbergeld, Consul at the Israeli Consulate in Shanghai.
I thank you all, on behalf of the Israeli Consulate for giving me the opportunity to take part in such an important day, in this important event, just weeks before the Israeli National Holocaust Memorial day. I thank the German Consulate for the incredible effort and the immense struggle of bringing such a huge project to life. The German Consulate has invested a lot of its resources and funds in the vast task of preserving Jewish heritage in Shanghai. This project serves not only as an excellent example of the unique cooperation between the German and Israeli Consulates, but also as proof of the friendship between our people.?/span>
I also want to thank Mr. Chen, director of the Museum and the City of Hongkou for taking the initiative of restoring Ohel Moshe Synagogue, preserving the Jewish Heritage in Shanghai and establishing the Museum. Your efforts in keeping the historical memories of Jewish refugees in Shanghai are highly important.
The Museum and the German Consulate have made tremendous efforts in creating a diversified itinerary of many events in order to give a broad perspective of the past. Jerry Lindenstraus and Sonja M黨lberger's reports as eye witnesses are extraordinary opportunities to learn how the lives were back then. The screenings of Dietmar Shultz and Christian Ender serve as timeless proof and a visual testimony from a dark history.
This is also a great honor for Israel to have one of its world renowned authors, Mr. David Grossman, to take part in the events in a panel discussion, dedicated to the subject.?/span>
One of the most interesting lectures is the one on Josef Gelbe, by Dr. Tomas Pl鋘kers, which is describing a true success story of a Jewish refugee. Together with Dr. Tang Yating, on Jewish music in Hongkou, they show the cultural aspects of the lives the Jews led in Shanghai. None the less, let us not forget that this was a struggle, a struggle which will be described in a dedicated session by Mrs. Orsula Kerchel, which will conduct a book reading on the subject.
This never ending task of commemoration must be valued for it is a testimony of a past which we struggle to let future generations discover time and time again.
The date of the opening ceremony is Purim holiday, a Jewish holiday celebrated all around the world. This is a commemoration of the deliverance of the Jewish people of the ancient Persian Empire from a plot to annihilate them. The holyday of Purim?/span>symbolizes a total turnaround in what was supposed to be an intended annihilation of Jews. Purim symbolizes a twist in one's destiny-from despair into redemption. Thanks to the city of Shanghai, thanks to the people of Hongkou district, the destiny of the Jewish refugees has changed also, for they had arrived to a shelter, a place of rescue. A home.
The Jewish people and the State of Israel, will never forget the fact in the midst of atrocities, the city of Shanghai has opened its gates to every Jew who fleeted into China, and by this gave him life.?/span>
This year is the Expo year. The State of Israel has decided that this year Israel will build its own pavilion. In an exhibition dedicated to the Jewish Heritage in Shanghai will be held. We also plan an event to commemorate Twin City Agreement of Shanghai and Haifa, and you are all be invited to take part in it as well as come and visit the Israeli Pavilion which is now on the last phase of construction.
The German Consulate, the Museum and the city of Shanghai and the Hongkou district have done immensely to preserve and restore the Jewish heritage in shanghai, none the less, there's still a lot of work ahead of us-We still need to see the Museum in Ohel Rachel presenting all the artifacts and exhibits that have been accumulated throughout the years, contributions of Jewish families.?#32;
The Israeli Consulate will continue to work with Mr. Chen and the German Consulate in order to make Hongkou district a must see tourist attraction for every tourist visiting Shanghai.
We gather here, in this place to remember: to remember what almost happened and to remember what did happen. The exhibition gives us a tangible presentation of the lives of a unique community which did it best to preserve what was left of it's past.?/span>
Shanghai and specifically the people of Hongkou district have given the Jewish refugees a shelter, an opportunity to lead a normal life, and thus became the example for the friendship between the Jewish people and the Chinese people.
Again I thank the Museum for this unique achievement; I thank the German consulate for its support in this important project.?/span>
I wish you all Happy Holiday.