Peres's eldest daughter Tzvia Walden at his 90th birthday in Vyshneva
Russian and American astronauts with Shimon Peres at the framework of Limmud FSU Israel
Limmud FSU leadership in front of his house in Vyshneva with Peres's daughter Tzvia Walden
Limmud FSU President Aaron G. Frenkel, Peres, Limmud FSU Chair Matthew Bronfman and Limmud FSU founder Chaim Chesler
Peres at Limmud FSU Executive Committee meeting at Monte - Carlo
Launch of Peres's exhibition at Limmud UK 2015
Residents of Shimon Peres’s hometown of Vishnyeva
Peres with Limmud FSU leadership at Executive Committee meeting
Limmud FSU leadership with Shimon Peres in President's residence
Residents of Shimon Peres’s hometown of Vishnyeva in front of his house
Limmud FSU leadership with Shimon Peres
A series of ceremonial events took place at May 29, 2013, in Vishneyeva, Belarus, the hometown of Israeli President Shimon Peres, as a kick-off in celebrating his 90th birthday. The ceremonies were held in the presence of his eldest daughter Tzvia Walden (named after President Peres’ Grandfather Tzvi Meltzer, who was killed in Vishnyeva by the Nazis), and were part of the Limmud FSU Festival in Belarus.
As part of the events in Vishnyeva, which were in collaboration with the Government of Belarus, a special permanent photo exhibition was opened on the life of President Peres. Also a plaque was revealed on the home that now sits on the lot where President Peres grew up. This was the Perski home, that the invading Nazis burned down in 1942 when they shot or burned to death, all the 2,000 Jewish inhabitants of the town, including Rabbi Zvi Meltzer and his congregation in the town’s synagogue.
The current house, like all the others in the town both then and now, is made of wood and freshly painted. The building looks somewhat better than surviving pictures of the old building, but there is still an authentic feel of what once was.
The plaque was revealed by Tzvia Walden, and it reads: "In this place, Shimon Peres, son of Yitzhak and Sarah Perski, the Nobel Laureate and 9th President of the State of Israel, was born on August 2, 1923." Right next to the house still stands the original water well which President Peres often spoke about how delicious the water was.
Earlier in the day, the town held an emotional memorial service near the Valley of Death monument to commemorate the 2,000 Jews of Vishnyeva that were murdered at the hands of the Nazis. At the completion of these events, a special closing ceremony was held honoring his family.
The original idea was first raised to the Government of Belarus by Chaim Chesler, founder of Limmud FSU, and Yoram Dori, a close adviser to Peres for many years, during a meeting with officials in Belarus and the local authorities of Vishnyeva a year before. Additional partners for the projects were the Jewish community of Belarus, the Israeli Embassy in Belarus, the Minsk District Government and the Vishnyeva Municipality.
"Shimon Peres, a Nobel Laureate, was probably the most well-known and prominent individual to ever be born in Vishnyeva, and it brings the town a lot of honor," said Chesler. "We hope that this can dramatically elevate tourism and development in the region."
The special exhibition initiated by Limmud FSU and was curated by Yoram Dori, showcases the life work of President Shimon Peres. It was initially displayed in Peres’ hometown in Belarus as part of Limmud FSU Belarus Festival 2013, and after was shown for two weeks in Jerusalem in 2014, in New York at UJA-Federation of NY in 2014 with with guest speaker former Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N. Ron Prosor, and in Birmingham at Limmud UK in 2015.
Residents of Shimon Peres’s hometown of Vishnyeva gathered on September 28, 2016 outside his childhood home to pay their respects for the biggest international figure to ever emerge from their village. The locals learned about Peres’ passing from Limmud FSU, which has been in constant contact with them since 90th birthday celebrations for Peres in Vishnyeva in 2013.
"Shimon Peres brought pride to our village through his life and accomplishments and we felt obliged to pay our respects following his death," said Oleg Demidchik, 63, of Vishnyeva. "We are humbled that he is from our town and we will never forget this."
"Shimon Peres, a Nobel laureate, is probably the most well-known and prominent individual to ever be born in Vishnyeva, and his memory and legacy honor this town," said Chaim Chesler. "We are greatly moved to see how deeply the people of Vishnyeva care for Peres and that they joined together in his memory.'