Address by the Chairman of the Association Major General (Ret.) Chaim Erez

The Jewish People lost a third of its number in the Holocaust – 6,000,000 Jews!
The Jewish People enlisted 1,500,000 of its sons and daughters to fight the Nazi enemy, a higher percentage than most of the Allies.
About 250,000 Jewish fighters fell in the war!
As the Jewish People, wherever we are, it is our duty to remember the fighters’ part and to extol the honor of those who fell.
Out of this moral and historic duty, we see privilege in perpetuating their heroism and courage, and their contribution to the defeat of the Germans and to paving a foundation for a fighting Jewish force, which is destined to be a fighting Israeli army.
A million and a half Jewish fighters, donning uniforms of the World’s-Army, contributed their military expertise, their capabilities and their determination to combat the Nazi enemy.
Jewish fighters were found in all corps and forces and on all fronts: in the air, in the sea and on land; in the rear forces; in military science and development units; in the engineering corps and amongst the tens of thousands of underground fighters and Partisans.
Tens of thousands were awarded medals of valor and decorations for gallantry.
Alongside the memory of the Holocaust and the six million Jews who perished in it, while unable to choose the way they fought within the ranks of various armies – it is worthy to note the factual fighting of a million and a half Jews and their tremendous contribution to the war effort.
In a historic decision of the Israeli Government on 16 May 2002, the establishment of the Museum of the Jewish Soldier in World War II in the “Yad Lashiryon” site in Latrun was approved. For that purpose, we – board members of the site – have established a special Fellowship that leads the project and works to realize it.
The Museum will bring the story of Jewish soldiers in World War II, their fighting and their part in the Allied Forces, the Underground organizations and within the ranks of the Partisans, facing Nazi Germany, Italy and Japan – the “Axis Countries”.
This chapter has not found its worthy place in the pages of the history of our Nation.
It is missing in our national consciousness, especially in the most tragic and decisive period of its history.
No nation has produced such a percentage of fighters, and there is no nation with such a percentage of fallen sons in the battles of World War II.
The objective of this Museum, also, is to shed light on the Jewish fighters’ part in the establishment of the IDF (Israeli Defense Force), and in the struggle to liberate and constitute our country.