The mission of The American Gathering is remembrance, education and commemoration.
The Legacy of Holocaust Survivors
And the Pledge of Acceptance
Of the Second Generation
Read in Hebrew, English, Yiddish, French, Russian and Ladino At the Western Wall In Jerusalem on June 18, 1981 during the Closing Ceremony of the World Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, precursor to the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors.
Written in Yiddish by Elie Wiesel
We take this oath: We take this oath in the shadow of the flames whose tongues scar the soul of our people. We vow in the name of dead parents and children; we vow, with our sadness hidden, our faith renewed; we vow we shall never let the sacred memory of our perished Six Million be scorned or erased.
We saw them hungry, in fear, we saw them rush to battle; we saw them in the loneliness of night – true to their faith. At the threshold of death, we saw them. We received their silence in silence, merged their tears with ours.
Deportations, executions, mass graves, death camps, mute prayers. Cries of revolt, desperation, torn scrolls; cities and towns, villages and hamlets, the young, the old, the rich, the poor, ghetto fighters and partisans., scholars and messianic dreamers, ravaged faces, fists raised. Like cloud of fire, all have vanished.
We take this oath! Vision becomes word; to be handed down from father to son, from mother to daughter, from generation to generation.
Remember what the German killers and their accomplices to our people. Remember them with rage and contempt. Remember what an indifferent world did to us and itself. Remember the victims with pride and with sorrow. Remember also the deeds of the righteous gentiles.
We shall also remember the miracle of the Jewish rebirth in the land of our ancestors, in the independent State of Israel. Here, pioneers and fighters returned to our people the dignity and majesty of nationhood. From the ruins of their lives, orphans and widows built homes and old-new fortresses on our redeemed land. To the end of our days we shall remember all those who realized and raised their dream – our dream – of redemption to the loftiest heights.
We take this oath here in Jerusalem, our eternal spiritual sanctuary. Let out legacy endure as a stone of the Temple Wall. For here prayers and memories burn. They burn and burn and will not be consumed.
We accept the obligation of this legacy.
We are the first generation born after the darkness. Throughout parents’ memories, words and silence, we are linked to that annihilated Jewish existence whose echoes permeate our consciousness.
We dedicate this pledge to you, our parents, who suffered and survived.
To our grandparents, who perished in the flames
To our vanished brothers and sisters, more than one million Jewish children, so brutally murdered
To all Six million whose unyielding spiritual and physical resistance, even in the camps and ghettos, exemplifies our people’s commitment to life.
We pledge to remember!
We shall teach our children to preserve forever that uprooted Jewish spirit which could not be destroyed
We shall tell the world of the depths to which humanity can sink and the heights which were attained, even in hell itself.
We shall fight antisemitism and all forms of racial hatred by our dedication to freedom throughout the world.
We affirm our commitment to the State of Israel and to the furtherance of Jewish life in our homeland.
We pledge ourselves to the oneness of the Jewish people.
We are your children.
We are here.