Photo of Grandfather Killed by Nazis Brings Peres to Tears

Sunday, November 17, 2013 |  Yossi Aloni  

Israeli President Shimon Peres was brought to tears during the opening ceremony of the recent Jerusalem Art Limmud FSU Festival, an annual art and academic event for Russian-speaking Israelis.

One of the centerpieces of this year's event was an exhibit documenting the life stories of Peres and former Prime Minister Menachem Begin, both of whom immigrated from the former Soviet Union.

"From Vilna Street in Vishnyeva to President's Street in Jerusalem" was the title of Peres' portion of the exhibit. Among the photos presented were some from Peres' childhood, and the president was visibly moved when he came to a picture that included his beloved grandfather Rabbi Zvi Meltzer, who perished in the Nazi Holocaust.

President Peres is one of a dwindling generation that personally witnessed and experienced the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust. Many in Israel fear that the revisionist voices trying to downplay or deny the Holocaust altogether will only get louder when that generation is gone.

In the meantime, many Holocaust survivors in Israel are living on extremely meager means, and the cash-strapped government is often unable to adequately assist.

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