Residents of former President Shimon Peres’s hometown of Vishnyeva in Belarus gathered Wednesday outside his childhood home to pay their respects following his passing.
The locals had learned about Peres’ passing from Limmud FSU, which has been in constant contact with them since it held 90th birthday celebrations for Peres in Vishnyeva three years ago.
“Shimon Peres brought pride to our village through his life and accomplishments and we felt obliged to pay our respects following his death,” said Oleg Demidchik, 63, of Vishnyeva. “We are humbled that he is from our town and we will never forget this.”
The events for Peres’ 90th birthday celebration, held as part of the Limmud FSU Belarus conference, included the introduction of a permanent photo exhibition showcasing Peres’s life in this remote Belarus village.
A plaque was also dedicated to Peres at a house on the site of Peres’s onetime family residence. The plaque reads: “In this place, Shimon Peres, son of Yitzhak and Sarah Perski, the Nobel laureate and ninth president of the State of Israel, was born on August 2, 1923.”
The original idea for the 2013 events in Vishnyeva was first raised to the Government of Belarus by Chaim Chesler, founder of Limmud FSU, and Yoram Dori, a close adviser to Peres for many years.
“Shimon Peres, a Nobel laureate, is probably the most well-known and prominent individual to ever be born in Vishnyeva, and his memory and legacy honor this town,” Chesler said on Wednesday.
“We are greatly moved to see how deeply the people of Vishnyeva care for Peres and that they joined together in his memory,” he added.