At Yad Va Shem, the national Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, the President and Prime Minister of Israel, survivors and their families convened to honor those who witnessed the horrors of what befell their lost loved ones. Watch this video of yesterday’s Yad Va Shem observances.
Israelis and those who support the Jewish state also commemorated those who resisted the Nazi onslaught.
Yugoslav General Albert "Beno" Ruso
In doing research I came across this film produced by Centropa (watch this brief video about Centropa and see the discussion below) of a remarkable group of heroes; Macedonian Jews, including the Ruso family from the town of Bitola, who fought the Nazis. Albert “Beno” Ruso, who fought in Tito’s partisan Army during the Shoah, ultimately retired as a General in the Yugoslav Army in the 1970’s. Ruso was a pallbearer at Tito’s funeral in 1980.
Watch this Centropa film "The Years Make Their Own on the exploits of Beno Ruso, his brothers, the life of the Bitola Jewish community and his wife, Roza nee Kamhi.
These Macedonian Jews lost relatives who were herded off by occupying Bulgarians-Nazi allies during WWII- onto trains that went straight North to the death camps in Poland. Nevertheless, these courageous Macedonian Jews, descendents of Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain in the 15th century whose spoken language was Ladino (Judeo Spanish), rose up to fight, first the Bulgarians, and then joined with Tito’s partisan army to rout the Nazis from what was Yugoslavia. To be sure, the Bulgarians realized too late their mistake of sending these Macedonian and Greek Jews in Thrace to Nazi death camps. King Boris later saved all of Bulgaria’s Jews in defiance of their Nazi allies. These events from WWII are still controversial; watch this Centropa film.
After WWII, these Macedonian Jewish Partisans came home and married their pre-war Jewish sweethearts from their days as members of labor socialist Zionist youth group, Hashomer Hatzair. Beno married Roza Kamhi from Skopje, whose forebearers participated in the 1903 Macedonian uprising against the Turks. While some of the Ruso brothers remained in what is now the independent Republic of Macedonia, others settled with their families in Israel. All the Rusos are confirmed Zionists.
A word about Centropa.org. It is a documentation center located in Vienna and Silver Springs, Maryland that has done remarkable work in interviewing and digitized photos of more than 13,000 survivors and their lost families in Central and Eastern Europe , producing creative films and holding international educational conferences. Centropa is registered in the US as a registered 501 c3 tax exempt NGO.
http://www.gk1world.com [Gawad Kalinga, tagalog for "to give care"]