Ladies and gentlemen,
allow me to say a few sincere words on this very special occasion.
When I found out that a stamp was to be issued in memory of my brother, I was very moved. He was my only sibling and almost all my childhood memories are connected with him, as we grew up together.
I was emotionally moved by another aspect of this event. Czech national feeling is deeply engrained in me. During the Austro-Hungarian Empire, my grandfather Ginz’s antique shop on Jungmannovo Square in Prague was one of the places where Czech artists, poets and writers would get together to chat among themselves and with my grandfather and to pick out something in his diverse collection of rare old books. On my mother’s side, from Královéhradecka, I have many Czech relatives in Bohemia.
But I now belong to another place. In the last fifty years I did not experience what the Czech nation went through, all the suffering, the moments of elevation and the moments of disappointment. My joys and sorrows were connected with developments elsewhere, in my new home in Israel. The issuing of this stamp elicits feelings in me that I find hard to describe or define. It is as if a long-lost relative has appeared and announced his presence.
The issuing of this stamp was preceded by a petition which was initiated by Břetislav Janík and signed by hundreds of Czech citizens. It was supported by Dr. Leo Pavlát, the Director of the Jewish Museum in Prague, with all his heart. As the outcome shows, the issuing of this stamp was accepted with understanding and consent. I believe this says something about the Czech nation.
I know and am aware that Petr’s fate, the fate of a gifted boy who drew, wrote articles, novels and a diary, whose life was severed before he reached adulthood, represents the fates of thousands of young Jewish Czech children who were murdered without trace.
I am grateful and proud that there are many good Czechs who deeply regret and are saddened by what happened.