Leopold Unger 1922-2011, a Holocaust survivor, was a prominent journalist and intellectual. Because of the 1968 antisemitic campaign he left Poland and lived and worked in Brussels. In 2007 in the exhibition "Where is Lwów (Lemberg in German, Lviv in Ukrainian)?" in the New Synagogue in Berlin Unger had a statement to make. Gazeta Wyborcza reprinted it, in the original Polish, on the occasion of his death, few days ago.
"I am a Jew. A Jew from Lwów, a city of three nations: Poles, Ukrainians and Jews, a city of three aspirations, three philosophies, languages, religions and an infinite number of running across conflicts.
A city, which indeed thanks to these contradictions, a contact of many different cultures, was a vibrating arena of confrontation of different visions of the word, because of which Lwów was a crucible of great -- Polish, Jewish and Eropean -- achievements in culture and civilization.
This city, this Lwów does not and will not exist anymore.
I am 85 years old, I am therefore perhaps one of the few living and always active survivors of the almost hundred thousands population of Jews from Lwów. The life of Jews in this city was not easy, antisemitic campaigns in politics were accompanied by economic boycott and rallies of nationalistic armed groups, but precisely those Lwów Jews made a huge contribution to the history and the earth where they lived and died.
This community does not and will not exist.
My parents were born, married and established a family in Austria, made a living in independent Poland, perished in Hitler's Germany, and were buried in an unknown grave in the Soviet Ukraine. All this without changing their address on 99 Grodecka Street in Lwów. And when the first time after the war I was in Lwow, September 21, 1992, on inaguaration of the statue in the place where the gate to the ghetto stood, I found that the grave of all my relatives does not exist. Their bodies were burned and ashes scattered.
Just as my parents and my brother perished, so were the parents of my wife and her brother, executed by firing in Majdanek, whereto they were transported from the Warsaw Ghetto. When we founded our family, we did not have neither parents nor siblings, and our children did not have neither from mother side nor from father side grandfathers and grandmothers, nor any uncles or aunts.
These two families also do not and will not exist.
But instead, there is the new family founded on the ashes of our ancestors. Because of that, this my Berlin Kaddish today, is not a part of martyrdom, but is, like this exhibition, a part of memory.
We are living in a period of general search and commemorating places of common memory. Berlin is the best example. It is a vital agent in building of European identity. This exhibition is a part of the big strife between the idea of common European memory, and the memory of each nation and each of us , dependent only on our own relation to the past. The memory, which rather separates than connects us, and which makes understanding of other memories more difficult.
We hope that this exhibition would in a modest manner break this division and make the understanding of the other more general.
And last remark. I could have turned to you today in more accessible languages, in French, in English or others. I chose Polish. Why? Well because, exactly 68 years ago in September 1939, when German bombs were falling on my Lwów, I said to my parents: "Do widzenia (good bye literally see you)." I saw them then the last time."