More than 1,500 residents of the city of Sighet in northern Romania marched with senior officials from Israel and abroad and members of the Jewish community in Romania, in an event commemorating Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
The special procession left Wiesel's home and continued through the city until it reached the railway station from which Wiesel, his family and Jews from the region were sent to Auschwitz . This was the same route taken by the Jews in May 1944. During the ceremony, a memorial plaque was unveiled and the name of the train station was changed to "Elie Wiesel Station".
The event was attended by senior figures from Israel and the world including MK Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid Party); Minister of Social Equality Gila Gamliel (Likud); JNF Chairman Danny Atar; Executive President of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany Greg Schneider; President of the Romanian Jewish Community Dr. Aurel Vainer; outgoing Deputy Vice President of the Supreme Court Elyakim Rubinstein; and Dr. Zvi Berkovich, Honorary consul of Romania in Israel, and the Prime Minister's physician.
MK Yair Lapid said: "We came here to pay our respects to the late Elie Weisel, a dear person whose private memory has become the collective memory of an entire people. Wiesel was a close friend of my father's, and I had known him and his work since childhood. We are here to honor him for his contribution to the memory of the Holocaust, the fight against anti-Semitism and his work for the State of Israel."
Minister of Social Equality Gila Gamliel said: "Unfortunately, we still find ourselves having to deal with the hatred of Holocaust deniers and their supporters, the constant manifestation of anti-Semitism and the dangers caused by the ignorance of many. Therefore, it is our duty to continue this struggle waged by Elie Wiesel against hatred, fanaticism, and demons of the past."
Sandra F. Cahn, co-founder of Limmud FSU said that :"We fulfilled tonight our commitment to Limmud FSU’s mentor, Elie Wiesel, to present the opportunity to the people of Sighet commemorate the memory of its most prominent and admired citizen."
Dr. Zvi Berkovich, Honorary consul of Romania in Israel, the Prime Minister's physician, and son of Holocaust survivors from Sighet, delivered a special message from PM Netanyahu: “Benjamin Netanyahu deeply appreciated Elie Wiesel and his work. He hopes that events of this kind will be held every year, helping to emphasize the importance of the universal messages Elie Wiesel promoted worldwide - tolerance, brotherhood, and the obligation to remember and never forget."