The artistic works of Holocaust survivor Fishel Rabinowicz were presented for the first time at the official ceremony commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2019 in Bern on 28 January 2019.

Approximately 200 guests were in attendance, including Holocaust survivors, representatives of the Swiss parliament and federal government, the diplomatic corps, and representatives various religious communities in Switzerland.

“The Holocaust still haunts me that is why I painted Aleph as a haunted letter that cannot escape” said Rabinowicz who survived Buchenwald and who draws as part of the healing process. Mr. Rabinowicz’s exhibition is titled “Holocaust Artist”

In addition, Bronislav Erlich bore witness of surviving the mass extermination of Jews during World War II and soloist Mark Varshavsky, also a survivor of the Shoah, played classical cello pieces inspired by Jewish folk music.

The ambassadors of Italy, the USA, Germany and Israel, as well as the President of the Swiss National Council, Marina Carobbio Guscetti and the President of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities, Herbert Winter, conveyed messages. The ceremony also included a poem by Primo Levi, while Kaddish was recited by Rabbi Michael Kohn.

The event was a joint project of diplomatic representations of the member countries of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), in cooperation with the Historical Service of the Swiss federal department of foreign affairs and Gamaraal Foundation.

In the words of Gamaraal Foundation President Anita Winter, “we fight indifference every single day, spreading the messages of the survivors, keeping their testimonies, educating the new generation. It is crucial to continue doing it, because the living legacy and the eye-witnessed testimonies of the holocaust survivors will not be with us forever. We are obliged to keep their memories and spread the word.”

The organisation of the event was co-ordinated by the embassies of Israel and Italy, who currently holds the chairmanship of IHRA.