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The Hana Greenfield Memorial Swim


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The Hana Greenfield Memorial Swim

This annihilated Jewish community had a life and a history, and we wanted it to be remembered and not erased, remembered and not forgotten. By MURRAY GREENFIELD  SEPTEMBER 30, 2020 20:33 Murray and Hana Greenfield’s granddaughters Shirona and Daniela at the second annual swim in 2019 (photo credit: Courtesy) This is the third year that…

This annihilated Jewish community had a life and a history, and we wanted it to be remembered and not erased, remembered and not forgotten.

By MURRAY GREENFIELD
 

SEPTEMBER 30, 2020 20: 33

Murray and Hana Greenfield’s granddaughters Shirona and Daniela at the second annual swim in 2019 (photo credit: Courtesy)

Murray and Hana Greenfield’s granddaughters Shirona and Daniela at the second annual swim in 2019

(photo credit: Courtesy)

This is the third year that a swim named The Hana Greenfield Memorial Swim – in memory of my late wife Hana (Lustig) Greenfield – took place in September in the town of Kolin, near Prague, in the Czech Republic.

The town of Kolin had created a swim in the river on the banks of which my wife had grown up happily until March 1939, when the Germans marched into town. Following the war, my wife had returned to her hometown to revive the memory of her Jewish community.

In honor of her efforts, the municipality, headed by the mayor, set up The Hana Greenfield Memorial swim. Here is what my daughter Meira Greenfield Partem wrote for the opening of the event: I am Meira Greenfield Partem, the daughter of Hana (Lustig) Greenfield, who was brought up in this pastoral town of Kolin, in a home on the banks of the Elbe river.

However, at the young age of 14, Hanichka, later my mom, was reduced to a citizen of no rights in her own town, when the German army invaded from the Sudeten Land.

It was the beginning of a journey to hell. My mother was one of all the Jewish Czech Citizens, deported to concentration and death camps.

Hana Greenfield was one of the very few who returned alive.

My mother, after finding a new homeland in Israel, always yearned for her old beautiful and beloved hometown. My mother also had a deep sense of painful responsibility to keep alive, the memory of the innocent victims of the Holocaust from her family, synagogue and home town of Kolin, who hadn’t had a burial place or a eulogy said, in their memory.

This annihilated Jewish community had a life and a history, and my mother wanted it to be remembered and not erased, remembered and not forgotten, remembered and not covered up by the routine of everyday life.

Mother returned to Kolin and claimed the memory back, she claimed the synagogue back, she claimed for the Czech municipality of Kolin to look back and acknowledge what had happened and remember and turn the memory into a lesson for the future: Never Again!

The young wonderful mayor of Kolin, Mr. Rakusam, immediately took up the task of reviving the memory of the victims, and the Jewish heritage in Kolin in the field of culture, business and all other aspects of life and created this wonderful event in the purified, renewed, beloved river of Elbe, where my mother as a girl had been taught how to swim, by her father Karel Lustig, who had been one of the Kolin Jewish victims gassed in a truck by the Germans.

It is with the greatest respect, appreciation and love, to the municipality of Kolin and its citizens, for establishing this amazing promising memorial swim event that I write today.

From Jerusalem, I send my love to all Czech participants, and to Rabbi Andrew Goldstein, to Jane Drapkin, to the Northwood and Pinner Liberal synagogue of London and all virtual participants, who share the decree of remembering and not forgetting, of coming together and creating a better reality for the human race.

I hope to take part again and meet you all next year in Kolin.  

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