Members of the Israeli delegation to the Kochav Meir Field Hospital in Western Ukraine held a memorial service on the eve of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day. The memorial service took place at a killing field near the field hospital.
A delegation of medical personnel at the Kochav Meir Field Hospital in Ukraine headed by Dr. Michal Mekel, Deputy Director of Rambam Health Care Campus, is completing its stint at the hospital today. Just before their return to Israel, and entry of the new team of doctors from Israel into the hospital, members of the current delegation held several events to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day (April 28, 2022).
The hospital works in collaboration with the local Jewish community and community representatives drew the attention of the hospital staff to the town's centuries-old Jewish history.
Delegation members gathered last night in the town's Jewish cemetery, next to a modest monument marking the killing field where thousands of the area's Jewish residents were murdered. On the eve of World War II, the number of Jewish residents was about 55 percent of the total population, which was 2,548 at the time. By the end of 1942, the town was declared “Jew-free.”
Dr. Mekel said, “The place where we are standing was once the Jewish cemetery in the town of Mostyska. Like many cemeteries on Ukrainian soil, this cemetery is not identified as a Jewish cemetery, because there are no Jews left to preserve this memory. Here, next to the modest monument, stands a memorial for the Jews of Mostyska and Rudnyky who were massacred right here, in a ditch behind this wide lawn. Here, their bodies are buried. We must bear the memory of the Holocaust, get to know these places, and commemorate their memory in the hearts of the survivors, the relatives of the murdered, and the Jewish people.”
Later on, the delegation members gathered for a special memorial event and listened to the moving story of Maria Liptek, 60, a resident of Ukraine, and the granddaughter of “righteous among the nations” who hid Jews in their home during World War II, endangering their own lives to do so. When Maria Liptek learned about the Israeli hospital she wanted to share her story with the members of the delegation as a kind of personal closure.