Israeli Holocaust Survivors

By the end of the 1960’s about half a million Holocaust survivors had immigrated to Israel. The majority were part of a large wave of immigration that took place just after the establishment of the State of Israel.

As a result of the Holocaust, there were not many children aged 5-14 or elderly amongst the immigrants. Most of the immigrants, however, were young, energetic, educated and imbued with Zionism that could be defined as instinctive Zionism. It developed from the feeling of being betrayed by the European countries and from the need to be part of the majority amongst Jews. The last letters of Holocaust victims show that many hoped for a new life in Eretz Yisrael and the terminology of life and homeland were united as one. “To meet in our homeland” was another way of saying “I survived”.

The existence of the State of Israel gave survivors a feeling that was defined by more than one, as “the revenge of revival”. This, it seems, was the reason that immigrant absorption of Holocaust survivors was not passive.

The contribution of these immigrants to Israeli society and country was incomparable. This wave of immigration made a profound impact on in the economy, politics, medicine, settlement, culture (literature, art, sculpture, graphics) and in the military field particularly during the War of Independence, when half of the Jewish fighting force were Holocaust survivors.

It is not every day that a group of immigrants are participants in developing the national identity of the country of their destination.

The Holocaust survivors, from the moment they arrived in Israel, were dedicated to two objectives: preserving the memory of the Holocaust and passing it on to Israeli society, and actively shaping the Israeli national identity.

A main section was reserved for Holocaust survivors during the legislation of the Holocaust Remembrance Day Law (1959)

The success of the Holocaust survivors was indisputably so great that the Holocaust today is a decisive component in the national Israeli identity. They worked hard to develop and create a unique Israeli identity.

It is not surprising therefore that the cartoon character of the mythological Sabra (Israeli born) – “Srulik” was designed by Holocaust survivor Kariel Gardosh (Dosh).

Written by Prof. Hanna Yablonka, a well-known Israeli historian and scholar of the Holocaust.

Today (mid 2014), some 140,000 Holocaust survivors live in Israel – a figure representing about one forth the number of survivors who arrived in the country after WW-II. Old people by now, over a thousand of them die each month and their numbers are rapidly dwindling.

On the tab appears the phrase "in thy blood, Live" (Ezekiel 16:6). The phrase has become a symbol of hope and prospects for revival in face of anguish, and is often used to describe the miraculous revival of the Jewish people just after the Holocaust, with the birth of the State of Israel being the main representation of it.

The stamp was issued in 2003, design: G. Sagi.