2 Jewish world leaders meet in Jerusalem: Zelensky tells Netanyahu about heroic rescuers from Holocaust

The Ukrainian president told Netanyahu about his grandfather, who was the lone survivor from his family after his parents and three other brothers were murdered by the Nazis.

By World Israel News Staff

During his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is Jewish, told the Israeli leader about three heroic individuals from the Holocaust.

Zelensky was among approximately 50 world leaders and dignitaries to attend the Fifth International Holocaust Forum the previous day in the Israeli capital.

“Yesterday, we marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and I remarked on the horrible price that was paid by the peoples and soldiers of the allies, including in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, who paid a horrendous price, which we understand without which there would be no survivors and no Jewish state. So, we are eternally grateful to that,” Netanyahu told Zelensky.

“And equally, I am very, very happy with the way that our relations are going – the visit I had in the Ukraine with you, the deepening relations that we have,” the prime minister said, referring to his trip to Ukraine in August during which the two countries signed cooperation agreements in the areas of agriculture, trade, economic development, culture and education. During that visit, Ukraine also announced the opening of a high-tech center in Jerusalem.

“And of course, occasionally we are marked by tragedy, as you saw in the horrible case of the downing of your aircraft by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards,” Netanyahu continued in his remarks on Friday. “Iran knew from the get-go, from the first moment they knew that their forces had shot down your plane, and they tried to hide it and hid it for 48 hours before they were forced to admit it. I think this says a lot about what this regime is about.

“Our countries are two democracies that wish to seize the future, with cooperation, with technological exchanges, with tourism, and with all the benefits that come to free societies that work together with one another. I look forward to advancing that and I look forward also to discussing with you how we can confront the forces and regimes that threaten our common civilization and our common future,” he said.

Zelensky told Netanyahu about his grandfather, who was the lone survivor from his family after his parents and three other brothers were murdered by the Nazis. The other two individuals he mentioned were a Muslim kindergarten teacher from Crimea who saved 88 Jewish children and a Ukrainian Greek Orthodox clergyman who rescued 600 Jews.

“All in all, these stories are about one thing: your nationality, your religion, your age, your sex, your place of birth, have no meaning when there’s the kind word and heart that moves you inside against the total evil that you stand up against,” Zelensky said.

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“Thank you, President Zelensky. This is very moving. The stories of incredible courage, the Righteous Among the Nations, non-Jews who saved Jews, risking their lives, the lives of their families,” Netanyahu replied. “This is incomparable courage and the story of your own family, the struggle for life, the struggle for the future. This is what our common story represents. I welcome you to Jerusalem.”

Prior to the start of Thursday’s Fifth World Holocaust Forum, Zelensky announced that would be giving five of his delegation’s reserved seats to Holocaust survivors.