Today is International remembrance day for the Shoah (Holocaust). It is always important to remember the persecution, torture and murder of our families simply because they were Jews.
The international community for the most part, continue the tradition of singling out the Jews, today in the Jewish State, and also abroad, and willingly ignore the continued violence, both verbal and physical directed against Israel.
I personally have seen a remarkable break from this tradition of hating the Jews and Israel with an amazing couple, Gro and Bruno Wenske from Norway and Germany. Back in the first days of Oslo when I was privileged to be on the steering committee of establishing the immediate response teams in Judea, Samaria, Gush Katif and the Jordan Valley, and persuading MDA to allow us to have ambulances within these areas to save precious lives, I first met Gro.
A wonderful lady, Miriam from Petach Tikvah came to my office and introduced me to Gro saying, "this woman wishes to help you." LIttle by little the incredible story of Gro, Bruno, and her late father, Per Faye - Hanson was revealed. A story of courage, love and determination combined with emunah in the L-rd.
Per Fay - Hanson was in the underground in Norway and saved many of our families exposing himself, his wife, Gro, a small toddler ,and her infant sister to danger, and death, in order to try and save the lives of the Jews in Norway. I never met him because he passed away before the Olso Agreements, the time in which I first met the Wenske family.
Gro told me of her late fathers love for Israel, and the Jewish people and his determination to protect our people both during the Shoah, during the struggle to establish a Jewish State in our Land, and after the establishment of the State of Israel .
Gro and Bruno carry on the heritage of her father by helping us both here in Israel and also abroad in Europe. To quote Gro, "my Father did not wish to accept recognition from Yad V'Shem (the Holocaust Memorial in Israel) he said that it was enough that the L-rd of Israel allowed me to save HIS people I do not need more than that."
This special man was busy both here in Israel and abroad and was very well known to David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first Prime Minister, who in fact sent Per Fay-Hanson as the first shaliach (messenger) to the United States after the establishment of the State of Israel to convince Jews to make Aliyah and come home to Israel.
Finally a few years ago after much persuading Gro agreed to accept the recognition in her late Father's name by Yad V'Shem. Per Fay-Hansen was recognized as a Righteous Gentile.
The dedication of these wonderful, modest and giving people can be a lesson for all -Jew and Gentile alike. I have had the zchut (privilege) of not only having them as dear beloved friends, but also on several occassions being part of the conference, that they hold in Norway each summer. The hall of the conference is full of Israeli flags, photographs and maps of Israel and begins literally with the National Anthem of Israel, HaTikvah (the hope). Hundreds of Gentiles come from all over Europe to attend and honor Israel.
Today especially, as we commerate the Shoah it is time to express our endless gratitude to those brave, selfless Righteous Gentiles who endangered themselves and their families to try and save our people.
I know that my beloved friends will feel embarrassed by me giving them this attention, but I feel that it is important to give credit and thanks to this amazing family and all of their love and efforts for Israel and the Jewish people.
We will never forgive or forget what was done to our people- to our Nation and will be even more determined to protect our Torah, our Land and our people for this is the heritage and responsiblity that was left to us by our families who perished in the Shoah.
We are grateful to Gro and Bruno for carrying on the sacred work of her Father Per Fay -Hanson z"l and for their selfless endless love for our Nation and Land.
Gro and Bruno and family, bless you and keep you . With much love and respect in the name of the people of Israel and the pioneers in Yesha.