Lapid pays respects to grandfather killed at Mauthausen camp; Austrians apologize

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Speaking in a ceremony at the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid tells the story of his paternal grandfather Bela Lampel, who was murdered at the camp in April 1945.

Bela was taken from his home by an SS soldier in March, 1944, in front of his wife, and Lapid’s father Tommy, then 12 years old.

“Grandpa Bela, a quiet man whose family nickname was Bela the Wise, sent me here today to say on his behalf that the Jews have not surrendered,” says Lapid.

“They’ve established a strong, free, and proud Jewish state, and they sent his grandson to represent them here today. The Nazis thought they were the future, and that Jews would be something you only find in a museum. Instead, the Jewish state is the future, and Mauthausen is a museum.”

“Rest in peace, grandfather, you won.”

Yair Lapid at the Mauthausen concentration camp memorial in Austria on January 27, 2022. (Shlomi Amsalem/GPO)

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, Interior Minister Gerhard Karner and Austria Jewish community leader Oskar Deutsch join Lapid at the ceremony.

In his speech, Nehammer apologizes to Lapid in the name of Austria for the crimes committed at Mauthausen, and for the murder of Lapid’s grandfather there.

Lapid is set to participate in the “We Remember” ceremony at Vienna’s new Holocaust memorial. He will be joined by Austria’s President Alexander Van der Bellen, Nehammar and Austrian politicians.

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