"Two Trees in Jerusalem"
FNF-Jerusalem was honored to welcome Ms.Cornelia Schmalz-Jacobsen, the Grande Dame of German Liberalism, Former Commissioner of Immigration Issues of the German Federal Government and former General Secretary of the Free Democratic Party.
Cornelia Schmalz-Jacobsen came to Israel on the background of a very personal story. Both her parents, Donata and Eberhard Helmrich, saved the lives of hundreds of Jews during the Nazi period, her mother in Berlin and her father in today's Eastern Ukraine (Galicia), where he established agricultural farms in order to employ and thereby to save Jewish workers and hiding their families on the wide lands. Both parents were honored by Yad-Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem as "Righteous among the Nations". With this title the State of Israel honors all those non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis. Both of Cornelia Schmalz-Jacobsen's parents are commemorated in Yad Vashem with two trees in the 'Alley of the Righteous among the Nations'.
The title of Cornelia Schmalz-Jacobsen's book "Two Trees in Jerusalem" alludes to these memorial trees and tells the story of her extraordinary and brave parents who stayed loyal to their humanistic values even in the darkest times and proofed this not only by words but by courageous deeds.
On the occasion of the publication of her book into Hebrew, Cornelia Schmalz-Jacobsen presented her book at a moving event at the Residence of the German Ambassador, Dr. Susanne Wasum-Rainer, in Herzliya. The Israeli audience invited was of a special kind since the majority were children and grand-children of Jews who were rescued by Donata and Eberhard Helmrich more than seven decades ago. Sitting under an old olive tree in the garden of the German Ambassador in Israel, Cornelia Schmal-Jacobsen, the child of German rescuers spoke to the children and grand-children of the Jews, whom her parents had saved … truly a very moving moment, which for sure will not be forgotten by any of those who were present.
For us in the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, the German Foundation for the promotion of liberal values, the legacy of the darkest chapter in German history guides us in our determination to defend the freedom and dignity of all human beings all over the world.