Helsingin juutalaisen seurakunnan puheenjohtajan puhe 27.1.2015

(Tämä puhe esitettiin Holokaustin Uhrien Muisto ry:n järjestämässä Vainojen uhrien muistopäivän tilaisuudessa Helsingin synagogassa 27.1.2015)

Arvoisa Tasavallan Presidentti Sauli Niinistö, Ambassador of the State of Israel Dan Ashbel, Holokaustin Muisto ry:n puheenjohtaja Matti Myllykoski, Ylirabbiini Simon Livson, Your Excellencies, arvoisat seurakuntalaiset, kutsuvieraat, hyvät ystävät, kära vänner,

Tänään on kulunut jo 70 vuotta Auschwitzin vapauttamisesta, tai siitä on kulunut vain 70 vuotta. Tässä huoneessa on omakohtaista kokemusta keskitysleirin kauhuista ja Euroopan toisen maailmansodan aikaisista vainoista ja joukkomurhista. Holokausti oli niin valtava tapahtuma ja osoitus ihmismielen mahdollisuuksista absoluuttiseen pahuuteen, niin mieletön ihmismielen pimeintä puolta ilmentävä tapahtuma, ettemme saata sitä ymmärtää kokonaan. Melkein on niin, että olisi helpompi elää ajatellen ikään kuin sitä ei olisi tapahtunut. Näin tekemällä tekisimme tietysti valtavan vääryyden. Holokaustin opetus on nimenomaan siinä, että oppisimme sen tarinan ja merkityksen niin hyvin, jottei kenenkään meidän, eikä lastemmekaan tai heidän lastensa, tarvitse samankaltaista koskaan kokea.

It is often thought that Finland got away unscathed from the holocaust. This is true with reference to the Finnish Jewish population, which fought its place as part of the nation into the very fabric of the nation during Finland’s wars, two against the Soviet Union, and one war against Germany. Other Jews in the country were less fortunate, and paid with their lives. The magnitude of the Shoah dwarfs the individual stories within. I would like to take this opportunity to lift one up for a closer look. Elias Kopelowsky, Wood trader, citizen of Latvia, born 22nd of September, 1882. Extradited by Valpo, Valtiollinen Poliisi, state police 6th of November 1942 through Tallinn to Germany, orders given by Arno Anthoni, head of the state police. Elias was picked up not far from here in Hotelli Torni. Was forcefully boarded onto the ship s/s Hohenhörn, perished in the shoa among the eigth Jews deported by the national police on the 6th of November 1942.

Det är svårt att tänka sig hur man skulle reagera när polisen skulle komma och hämta en från sitt hotellrum. Slåss tillabaka? Protestera? Skrika? Vad gör man när man hämtas av beväpnade poliser, för att transporteras till ett land som vill dig döden. Elias Kopelowsky beskrevs av vänner senare som en “fredsälskande man”.

A police officer who participated in the extradition of Elias later said in an interview in 1964, that he would never forget the cold wind aboard the ship that penetrated the bones. He asked the German guards on deck to let the prisoners be inside the ship to stay warm. He was told that ”let them stand there until Tallinn. If they freeze to death it will save us gas”. The shoah is not a singular event, but rather a name used for a series of horrific events in Europe more than 70 years ago, that we today call the holocaust, shoah. The true image is only revealed by looking at each individual’s unique story, stories full of life, until the bitter end.

I would like to stand here today and say that the last time a Jew in Europe had to be afraid for his/her life while grocery shopping, was at least 70 years ago. Unfortunately today, I cannot state this, as it would be untrue. The danger might not come from the police, but it does come in the form of misguided fellow citizens who pose a risk not only to Jews but to all peace loving individuals of our civilized societies. Unfortunately Jews in today’s Europe are still singled out as targets. I wish that we and our children, and their children, contribute to a better future for humanity. It is easy to speak up on your own behalf, or on behalf of your friends or family, but to speak on the behalf of a complete stranger, to always, always, stand up in front of injustice, this is something humanity needs to work on, every day. It might be too late for poor Elias Kopelowsky, but for the people alive in our time, every day is a chance and we can all do our part to show that we learnt our lesson and will speak up when injustice is served, wherever it way be.