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  • Writer's pictureSami Steigmann

From Michael Biton, Israeli Politician

Updated: Apr 13, 2021

Sami Steigman was only a year and a half old when he was deported with his parents to a labor camp in the Transnistria area, in Ukraine. His life was saved after he was subjected to medical experiments, and then when he was about to die of starvation, a German woman brought him milk and he managed to survive. I met Sami about two hours before the start of Holocaust Remembrance Day, at a unique memorial event - a remote meeting with young people from Israel and around the world, including Morocco, Iraq, Yemen, Abu Dhabi, Sudan and Indonesia. Countries that have long been considered enemies, are now slowly thawing. With the image of Jerusalem that adorns the background behind him, Sami played with the young Jews and Muslims and Christians chess, found the common space and told his story, knowing that the whole world must know, recognize, understand the magnitude of the horror, so that it never happens again. In these difficult days when knowingly anti-Semitic and ignorant people dare to raise their heads around the world, while the survivors among us are dwindling, such events are so important, in order to keep the vow - to remember everything, to remember and nothing to forget. Sometimes, even such as a game of chess, is a creative way to touch members of different religions, to connect through a common language. Thus, I was excited to hear Hussein from Iraq, who told how as a child, he and his Muslim friends were educated to hate Jews - and vice versa, but now he is trying to live his life in accordance with the values of peace and tolerance among all peoples. This is also a way to preserve the memory for future generations. "We must not only remember, but act actively until we make sure that the events of the Holocaust do not happen again," says Sami. "Not only towards the Jewish people - but also towards other population groups." I thank the Chess4Solidarity project led by Lior Eisenberg, director of the "Chess for All Chess Activities for All Ages" club, thanks to which the special event was held, to Sami Steigmann for revealing his story, and to my friend, Savyon Council Chairman Moti Landau and Israeli Ambassador to Morocco. David Govrin

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