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Witnesses in Uniform Release date 01.05.2019
Each year, the IDF sends delegations to Poland, which then visit sites previously utilized as concentration camps, work camps and extermination camps. Lt. Dana Kaduri – an Air Defense Array service member who participated in the delegation – told us about her experiences
Lt. Dana Kaduri | Assisted by: Dor Palkovic

On Holocaust Remembrance Day, we all stand as one in memory of the disaster that befell our people over seven decades ago, and ensure that neither the disaster nor the fallen will ever be forgotten. This year, I was privileged to join an IAF delegation to Poland as a deputy battery commander, before the commencement of the establishment of the new "Iron Dome" battery.

Photography: Mor Tzidon

The delegation was made up of officers, NCOs (Non-Commissioned Officers) and representatives from bereaved families, all representing the IDF and Israel's society. We headed out on the journey as separate people and returned as a unified delegation. Together, we wept over the victims, felt their pain and felt astonished over the countless tales of bravery. We visited many places, saw the horrors from up close and heard about the horrors experienced by our people.

Photo courtesy of the interviewee

Łopuchowo forest. The murder pits, where even children were murdered and buried, looked like entrances into Hell. Our delegation walked to the sound of the trumpet with our breaths held, seeing as we were stepping on land soaked with the blood of our people.

Moreover, how could I not think about myself? About the privilege of being born in Israel, growing up just like any other kid, graduating from school, enlisting as a combatant and serving as an officer in the IDF? I realized that none of this could be taken for granted.

Photography: Mor Tzidon

In Krakow, we saw the deeds of the Righteous Among the Nations – non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save the Jews from extermination – where we learned that we had to remember the innate good of all humans. There, we heard the testimony of Lt. Col. (Res') Tibi Ram – a Holocaust survivor who fought in every Israeli war – who said that faith, confidence and determination helped him make it through the worst and fulfill his dream. He taught me that memory wasn't meant for a feeling of sadness but for a feeling of essence.

Lt. Kaduri with Lt. Col. (Res') Tibi Ram | Photo courtesy of the interviewee

In Tykocin, a beautiful rustic town, there stood a synagogue with its walls adorned with Bible verses. There, the whole delegation felt as one, proudly holding a Bible to the sounds of the Shofar; we IDF commanders felt pride in our people and joy in the ability to carry the legacy onward.

We passed through camps and walls and promised to bear witness. To remember. We realized that a great responsibility on our shoulders – we had to be the voice of the victims. Our hope was not lost, and with his grace, God brought us from Israel to be there, witnesses in uniform.