“We share a commitment to throw light on the still obscured shadows of the Holocaust.”
-- Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust
On May 13, the ceremony for the unveiling of the Monument Commemorating the Evacuation of Warsaw Ghetto Fighters took place at 51, Prosta Street in Warsaw.
The monument is situated at the very place where, on May 10, 1943, forty combatants in the Warsaw ghetto uprising - including Marek Edelman - were evacuated through the sewage canals, loaded onto a truck, and transported to the Łomianki forest in Warsaw's suburbs - to freedom. The operation was organized and led by a then 19-year old boy, Kazik Ratayzer - "Simcha Rotem". It was the last episode of Warsaw ghetto fighter's resistance. Most of those rescued, however, subsequently joined the Polish underground and fought in the Warsaw uprising in August 1944.
The unveiling ceremony featured the Chairman of the Honorary Committee, Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski; Warsaw's Vice-Mayor Jacek Wojciechowicz; an official Israeli delegation headed by Pinchas Avivi (MFA); ambassadors from Israel, USA, Germany, and the Czech Republic; Director of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, Dr. Eleonora Bergman; the President of the Central Council of German Jews, Charlotte Knobloch; and - most importantly - Simcha Rotem himself, together with Pnina Grynszpan, who was saved during the evacuation.
Members of the Diaspora's Memory Society, which first launched the initiative to build the monument in 2006, were also present. With a performance of Warsaw's military garrison band, the ceremony attracted hundreds of guests despite heavy rain. The event was covered extensively by the national media.