THE STORY OF THE SQUARE
Quilt 3, Square 2
Artist: Hugo Marom (Meisl)
A TRIBUTE TO BILL BARAZETTI
OCTOBER 31, 1993
Last Thursday, the 28th of October, the Czechs celebrated the 75th national day of independence and freedom from the Hapsburg monarchy. On that same evening, fifty-four years later in Zahala, a small group — less than one percent of the so called Children’s Transport — met Bill Barazetti for the first time.
The man who — in the spirit of the great Tomas Masaryk, Czechoslovakia’s first president — through his actions, gave us and hundreds more, freedom from the clutches of the Nazi oppressors and enabled our escape to Norway, Sweden and England.
We all sat stunned, listening to this unchronicled history of courageous and tragic events, which led to the salvation of thousands: Austrian, German and Czech Jews and finally to a small group of around 800 children. Among the chosen few, we were lucky to find ourselves.
So overwhelmed were we all by Bill Barazetti’s most modest narrative, who, with very few words:
• Relived for us those tragic months of 1939: the tiring, dangerous, hunted work by a very small group of young men and women; actions, unprecedented in the annals of history.
• Wept with us, remembering the anxieties of our parents left behind, their tortured consciences.
• Remembered those who could not be saved and stayed behind. So overwhelmed were we, that not one of us found words to thank Bill Barazetti.
I stand here now to:
• Pay tribute from the bottom of my heart, on behalf of all those present, the missing majority of lucky children and their parents, wherever they may be on earth or in heaven.
• Thank Bill Barazetti, Nicolas Winton and all their companions, living or dead, who I hope can also hear, our thanks from this sacred place. May Bill’s daughter Annie, who is here with us, bear witness, and pass on to the future generations of Barazettis, not only the story of her father’s leading role in those noble, daring and courageous acts, but also our and Israel’s expression of gratitude.
A fertile island was sinking in the ocean of the Holocaust. Life boats were limited... You, Mr. Barazetti, Mr. Nicolas Winton and one or two others, as boatswains filled three boats and life rafts with 800 odd saplings of Jewish trees when the fully grown trees could no longer be transplanted. We — the representatives of those saplings now fully grown trees — are gathered here to thank you.
• To thank you for saving us from going through hell.
• To thank you for giving our parents a gift that grew more valuable from day to day as they became entrapped by the agents of hell.
• To thank you on their behalf, as your gift of life to us grew from year to year as we matured. The very same gift, which our parents realized the value of, as their day of judgement came closer.
We — those lucky saplings, these children — salute you, and by doing so, we salute no less those parents for their selfless courage and audacity to trust you, Nicolas Winton and others of your crew, with our lives.
Mankind honours those who risk their lives for others without knowing them. We are proud to have this unique opportunity to honour you in person and express endless gratitude on our behalf and on behalf of all those children, who are not lucky enough to be here, in Jerusalem, with us and meet with you also, to do so personally.
Hugo Marom (Meisl) on behalf of the “Children”