“Only Those Who Remember Grow”: Youth Movements from Israel and Germany Sign a Common Paper Concerning their Partnership

The Charter-signing between ha-No’ar ha-Oved ve-ha-Lomed and Socialist Youth of Germany – Falcons (SJD-Die Falken)  at the Willy Brandt Center Jerusalem


In February 2020, a long and strenuous process undergone by ha-No’ar ha-Oved ve-ha-Lomed and SJD – Die Falken had come to a preliminary summit: The two sister-organizations from Israel and Germany, which have been working together since the 1980’s, signed a Charter regarding their common work and co-operation. The ceremony took place at the Willy Brandt Center in Jerusalem and was framed by a festive atmosphere.

SJD–Die Falken has several international partnerships with Youth Movements in Israel and Palestine. A delegation of SJD – Die Falken came to the Middle-East at the end of February to meet their four regional partner organizations. The delegation of the federal board had also taken the chance to meet with representatives from all youth movements, exchange about the current situation in Israel and Palestine, and plan common activities in the future. Alma Kleen and Jana Herrmann, the two chairwomen of SJD who had accompanied the Charter-process from its beginning, were part of the delegation.

The ceremony began with opening words by Wiebke Warkentin, the new coordinator of the educational cooperation under the roof of the WBC. Then Tal Tunik from ha-No’ar ha-Oved ve-ha-Lomed proceeded to describe the different phases of the drafting process, which initiated in 2015.

These talks were followed by a musical piece – Yinam Leef’s “Yizkor”, performed by the flutist Hagar Shahal. The incorporation of a traditional instrument in this modern piece highlighted the connection of these youth organizations, who have existed for 120 years, to the present, as an important part of the social life of young people today.

Jana Herrmann took this chance to emphasize the important work of Jewish and German youth organizations, and summarized that which especially connects SJD and NOAL: “The socialist idea of changing society through education – an education that not only makes the world a better place, but which empowers young people to shape politics and the world in which they live on their own terms”.

The secretary general of ha-No’ar ha-Oved ve-ha-Lomed, Pesach Hausfater, held a very impressive and emotional speech. He portrayed his family’s history through the Holocaust, and described in a very personal manner what it means to him to cooperate with a German organization 75 years after the Holocaust had ended. In accordance, the Charter underlines that the young generation in Germany “inevitably carries the historical responsibility for the implications of the Holocaust”.

Pesach Hausfater, Alma Kleen, Jana Herrmann and Maya Geva signed the Charter and afterwards, as a symbolic act, planted together an olive tree in the garden of the WBC; as Simon Halkin’s poem, quoted in the Charter, notes: “Only those who remember grow”.