The group “Leadership Mission” of Yad Vashem was received in Jerusalem by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on July 10, 2016. Bensheim local Thomas Zieringer was among the participants.

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- Press release of the association Friedensmal Wendepunkt -
Article was also published as a longer version in Bergsträßer Anzeiger on July, 10, 2016


A visit to the Israeli President

Bensheim. The “Bürger für Bensheim” (Citizens for Bensheim) invited guests and members to a lecture by Thomas Zieringer on August 30th, 2016. The Bensheim local spoke of his participation in the “Leadership Mission” of Yad Vashem. Jerusalem-based Yad Vashem is a remembrance, education, and research center of global significance. The “Leadership Mission” was composed of approx. 70 international members. 

YouTube film on the https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-XFOT0IRdQ

YouTube film with the https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgDcO6Wut74 on the occasion of the group’s visit

Zieringer spoke of the various stops during the trip of the “Leadership Mission” and showed images. The group visited several Polish locations, among which Auschwitz. Here, Zieringer read Psalm 23 during a Yad Vashem remembrance ceremony. The small group was accompanied by the former Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Lau, and his wife. 


The group of Yad Vashem leaves Auschwitz
We leave the concentration camp Auschwitz - in front of us a sign of hope for life.

The evening after the visit to Auschwitz, the group flew to Israel, where they visited Israeli President Reuven Rivlin the following day. In Israel, the participants in the “Leadership Mission” were additionally offered the opportunity to become better acquainted with Yad Vashem in personal discussions and during guided tours of the various departments of the center.



Two artists meet in Yad Vashem. Yehuda Bacon and Thomas Zieringer.
Two artists meet at Yad Vashem. From the left: Yehuda Bacon and Thomas Zieringer.


Picture from 1947

Zieringer concluded his speech with a true story. Another participant in the “Leadership Mission”, who happened to sit behind him in the bus, asked him whether the town pictured on an old photograph might be Bensheim. The picture featured a young man standing on a street, with the handwritten addition “Bensheim, 1947”. The participant, a Board Member of “Friends of Yad Vashem/USA“, explained that the man in the picture is her father. This is the only memory she had left of this time.

Her father, a merchant, visited Bensheim after the war. A group of Jewish merchants helped provide the local Bensheim population with daily necessities after the war. Zieringer remembered that his father Karl told him the story of the Jewish merchants of Bensheim quite often. This is where his positive relationship to Judaism came from.

At the time, Karl’s father Andreas Zieringer was a metal merchant. After exactly 70 years, a circle of events and connections closed in the Yad Vashem bus that was driving through Jerusalem.


Jewish merchant in Bensheim, 1947      Proof that Mr. Leistner was in Bensheim in 1947






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