Polish square named after Ben-Gurion
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Polish square named after Ben-Gurion

Plonsk honors the memory of its famous native son who became Israel’s first prime minister

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

The small Polish town of Plonsk named a central square after its most famous citizen, David Grün, better known as Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion.

At a special ceremony on Wednesday attended by participants of the March of the Living and representatives from the Ramat Hanegev Regional Council, the town honored Ben-Gurion, who was born there in 1886. The square on Wspólna Street marks the spot where Ben-Gurion’s family home once stood.

Plonsk has enjoyed strong ties with the Ramat Hanegev Regional Council for some 15 years. Ben-Gurion spent his later years living on Kibbutz Sde Boker in Israel’s Negev Desert, and was buried there.

The graves of David Ben Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, and his wife at Kibbutz Sde Boker in southern Israel. (photo credit: Moshe Shai/Flash90)
The graves of David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, and his wife at Kibbutz Sde Boker in southern Israel. (photo credit: Moshe Shai/Flash90)

In addition to a memorial already on site dedicated to the Plonsk Jewish community destroyed in the Holocaust, there is also a metal tree that was erected by the Ramat Hanegev Regional Council. Each year a youth mission from Ramat Hanegev makes a pilgrimage to the square and customarily hangs a metal leaf on the branches of the tree to record its visit to the site.

The man who later to become Israel’s first prime minister lived in the town for 20 years before moving to pre-State of Israel Palestine in 1906. After he retired from politics in 1970, Ben-Gurion moved to the kibbutz in line with his belief in developing Israel’s arid south, and was buried there in 1973.

This year’s March of the Living has over 11,000 participants from around the world and was joined by IDF Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz.

The stated aim of the March of the Living is to impart the lessons of the Holocaust and celebrate the history of Jewish survival. The journey starts in Poland and continues in Israel, where participants honor Israel’s fallen soldiers on Yom Hazikaron — Memorial Day — and celebrate Israel’s Independence Day on Yom Ha’atzmaut.

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