Amidst the haunting legacy of Auschwitz, where millions of lives were lost in the Holocaust, a triumphant symbol of renewal emerges in the form of the Israeli artistic swim team. Their gold medal victory at the European Games, that too place just minutes away from this concentration camp, signifies a profound message of resilience and the enduring spirit of a nation. This gold medal triumph, steeped in symbolism, echoes a previous momentous event from two decades ago, when Israeli fighter jets soared over Auschwitz, pledging to be the shield of the Jewish people and their homeland. The convergence of these symbolic victories underscores the indomitable will to remember history, honor the fallen and those murdered innocent lives, and demonstrate that the words “Never Again” are more than a mere slogan.
The Israeli artistic swim team danced to the gold medal, which they won at the Kraków-Małopolska 2023 European Games, that has been taking place from Wednesday, June 21, 2023 to Sunday, July 2, 2023, in Oswiecim, Poland. Oswiecim is just 10 minutes distant from the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, where some one million Jews were murdered by the Nazis’ systematic ‘murder the Jews’ scheme.
Auschwitz Former German-Nazi Concentration & Extermination Camp
Until the end of its active existence, the Auschwitz concentration camp ranked number one in extermination of human beings. In other German-Nazi concentration camps, from 1943 until the end of the war, in an effort to conserve on the labor force needed for the war machine, the murder rate was lowered.
In Auschwitz, though, new transports, mostly of Jews, arrived continuously until almost the end of WWII, which kept the camp supplied with laborers as well as kept the gas chambers and ovens turned on.
In Auschwitz human life and its significant value stooped into the abyss.
Historians estimate that around 1.1 million people perished in Auschwitz during the less than 5 years of its existence. The majority of the victims, around 1 million people, were Jews, men, women and children. The second line of victims, from 70 to 75 thousand, were the Poles, and the third, about 20 thousand, were Gypsies. About 15 thousand Soviet POWs and 10 to 15 thousand prisoners of other ethnic backgrounds, including Czechs, Byelorussians, Yugoslavians, French, Germans, and Austrians, also died in Auschwitz.
In view of the role that it played in the realization of the Nazi’s pland for the extermination of mankind, Auschwitz is known worldwide as a symbol of the Nazi genocide, and especially of the massacre of the Jews.
One Must Remember History
Oświęcim is a town in southern Poland, known for the Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau, WWII concentration camp with preserved gas chambers and artifacts.
According to the European Games, the 11- strong female Israeli team win, in the Team Free Routine Combination, marks Israel’s first-ever European gold and second European team medal overall.
The news headlines were, “Nothing More Symbolic: Israeli Swimmers Win Historic,” “Israel Wins Historical European Title in Oswiecim,” and “Nothing more symbolic: Israeli swimmers win historic gold near former Auschwitz Concentration Camp.”
The symbolism of this gold medal win is one among others, that AM YISRAEL CHAI – The nation of Israel is alive and lives, going from strength to strength.
This Symbolism Follows The First Symbolism
The 11 member Israeli artistic swim team’s win was very impressive. It is also a reminder of a related non-sport symbolic win for Israel. That win was 20 years ago, in 2003, when the Israel Air-Force flew its first formation over the remains of Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp.
The Polish Air Force invited the Israel Air Force to partake in the Radom Air Show to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Polish Air Force.
Amir Eshel, then a Brigadier General, implored his commander, Dan Halutz, to accept the invitation with the condition that some of the planes that participated in the Air show could fly from Radom to Auschwitz, as a tribute to the victims of the Holocaust. Eshel, himself a son of Holocaust survivors, along with pilots Avi Maor and Avi Lebkowitz and weapon systems officer Shimshon Rozen, participated in the Airfare with both ground and aerial displays.
The flight from Warsaw Radom Airport to Israel included the flyover of Auschwitz, nicknamed Flight 301.
On September 4, 2003, three Israel Air Force F-15 planes took off from the Radom air strip and flew about 200 km above a thick layer of bad weather clouds before they descended to a low altitude of 1,200 feet and flew in formation over the remains of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp.
While they flew over the Camp’s gate, railway, ramp, and the array of Israeli Defense Forces soldiers who attended the event, Amir Eshel read, over the intercom system, a short paragraph he had written especially for the occasion. The paragraph he read honored the victims of the Holocaust and reaffirmed the commitment of Israel Air Force to protect the Jewish people and their country, Israel:
“We pilots of the Air Force, flying in the skies above the camp of horrors, arose from the ashes of the millions of victims and shoulder their silent cries, salute their courage and promise to be the shield of the Jewish people and its nation Israel.”
Israel Air Force Ceremony – F-15 Jets over Auschwitz – watch here:
And watch here: Eagles over Auschwitz
Triumph of Renewal Symbolism
On September 4, 2003, in a large “Triumph of the Return” ceremony, in which many of the participants were the children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, the Israeli Air Force flew three F-15 jets over the Auschwitz concentration camp in a show of the Jewish people’s continuity and their continued strength and triumph over a horrific past and adversities. During the Holocaust (1939-1945) 6 million Jews were murdered at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators. Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camp became the dogma of Jews and other victims imprisoned, enslaved and murdered by the murderous Nazi machine.
This 2003 flyover was the first testament to the world that the saying “NEVER AGAIN” is not just a slogan.”