Israel Lands a Spacecraft on the Surface of the Moon
By: Yad Vashem
Beresheet's lunar landing will make the Jewish State the fourth country to successfully master this incredible achievement. Known as the startup nation, Israel is a global leader in science and technology but is also a country deeply rooted in history. The history of the Holocaust, one of the darkest periods of Jewish history and the history of humanity, plays a fundamental role in shaping the identity of Israel and the Jewish people.
Petr Ginz, born in Prague in 1928, spent his adolescence in the children's home in the Theresienstadt ghetto. He was very interested in science and remarkably talented at writing and drawing. In addition, he edited the youth newspaper Vedem - 'We are the Leaders'. His drawing "Moon Landscape" connects the dream of one Jewish boy who is a symbol of the talent lost in the Holocaust, to this modern achievement of the Jewish state, which is a symbol of our revival.
Ginz was an incredibly talented boy and had a vivid imagination. He began writing stories, books, poems and articles at a young age. During his incarceration, he "traveled" to places near and far – including outer space – inspired by one of his favorite authors Jules Vern. With great longing, he also "visited" Prague, the city of his birth, in a poem written from behind the ghetto walls. In 1944, Petr was deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp by the Nazis where he was murdered.
"'Moon Landscape' reflects, with remarkable accuracy, how Petr believed the earth would look from the moon," said Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev. "Moreover, it illustrated his desire to reach a place from where the earth, which threatened his life, could be seen from a secure range. But most of all, the drawing reveals a young man who, in addition to his other talents, was both a researcher and a scientist full of the optimism that science precedes all – and would ultimately bring a remedy for the malaise of humanity."
"The Beresheet lunar landing is an auspicious moment in Jewish history and a remarkable achievement. Sadly we will never know how many more young Jewish children – 1.5 million of whom were murdered in the Holocaust – like Petr Ginz could have contributed their talents to the State of Israel and mankind, " Shalev stated.
Yad Vashem had previously presented Israel's first astronaut with a copy of "Moon Landscape," which Ilan Ramon brought to public awareness when he took a copy with him on his doomed space flight in 2003. As the son and grandson of Auschwitz survivors, Ilan had asked Yad Vashem to provide him with a relic from the Holocaust with him on his mission to space. Ilan immediately connected to "Moon Landscape," which Ginz had painted from his imagination while incarcerated in the Theresienstadt ghetto. Yad Vashem produced a facsimile copy of the drawing for Ilan to take to space.
Tragically, the Columbia spaceship disintegrated upon reentering Earth's atmosphere, killing Ilan Ramon and all the astronauts on board. Ramon's colleague, American astronaut Andrew Feustel (https://www.yadvashem.org/
"Ilan Ramon and I worked together for a short period of time prior to 2003. I was touched when I discovered that Ilan planned to take Petr Ginz's illustration to space, as I have close family and friends in the Czech Republic. I feel honored to commemorate Petr, Ilan and all the victims of the Holocaust in this way," Feustel commented on the NASA website, after returning from orbit.
For photos please click here (https://we.tl/
· 583_11MR - Petr Ginz (1928-1944), Moon Landscape, 1942-1944 Pencil on paper 21x14.5 cm Collection of the Yad Vashem Art Museum, Jerusalem Gift of Otto Ginz, Haifa
· 401Q2878_GinzGMT98 – Astronaut Andrew Feustel holding Petr Ginz's Moon Landscape aboard the International Space Station 2018
· ABC_8565_resize – The late Rona Ramon, wife of Israeli Astronaut Rona Ramon and Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev with holding the copy of Moon Landscape that Drew Feustel would take to space. January 2018
· Ilan2 – Israeli Astronaut Ilan Ramon before his mission to space.
· Petr Ginz and his sister Chava before the war - Petr Ginz (on the right) with his sister Eva (Chava) Pressburger Ginz circa 1934