Immigration to Israel and Public Activities
On the eve of the establishment of the State of Israel, Hermann Helfgott helped recruit fighters for the Hagana from among the Holocaust survivors at Bergen-Belsen. After his immigration to Israel, in 1948, Helfgott enlisted in the IDF. He served as the chief cultural and welfare officer in the Medical Corps, and in 1953 joined a delegation from the Foreign Ministry to Cologne, Germany. There he was appointed chief rabbi of Cologne. As chairman of the “Ahavat Reim” association, Helfgott helped Jewish youth immigrate to Israel and greatly contributed towards improving Israeli-German relations.
After his return to Israel, Helfgott became rabbi of Savion, and continued his work in the fields of education, religion, culture, and Holocaust research and remembrance in Israel and abroad. Among his many activities, Helfgott was one of the founders of the She’erit Hapleita (The Last Remnants) movement, chaired the Yugoslavian Fighters Association in Israel and was a member of the Yad Vashem Council and Directorate.
Mrs. Malka Asaria-Helfgott (née Bodner) donated films on display in the Visual Center at Yad Vashem. In November 2010, Israel's Minister of Education appointed Malka Asaria-Helfgott (née Bodner), to serve as a member of the Yad Vashem Directorate.