11 November 2002
Maxi Librati - a French Holocaust survivor, businessman, and benefactor of Yad Vashem - is dedicated to imparting the legacy of the Holocaust to the younger generation. Driven by this goal, he recently arrived at Yad Vashem to participate in the inaugural ceremony of the Janusz Korczak Square - his latest commemorative act at Yad Vashem.
The Korczak Square recalls the bravery of Jewish/Polish educator Janusz Korczak. During the Holocaust, Korczak refused to abandon the children of his Warsaw orphanage, perishing alongside them in the Treblinka death camp. Located in the square is the statue "Janusz Korczak and the Children" by sculptor Boris Saktsier which was donated to Yad Vashem by Mila Brenner and Yakov Meridor. The square was designed by architect Shlomo Ahronson.
The inaugural ceremony was attended by a 350-person delegation from France headed by Chairman of the Conseil Representatif des Institutions Juives de France (CRIF), Roger Cukierman. Chairman of the Keren Hayesod Mondial, Ambassador Avi Pazner; Associate Chairman of the French United Israel Appeal (AUJF), Pierre Haas, and member of the Unified Jewish Social Fund (FSJU), Bernard Korn-Broza were also part of the delegation. President of Israel, Moshe Katsav, and Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, Avner Shalev, delivered remarks.
Maxi Librati was detained in 1943 in Lyon, France and was sent to Drancy camp. He was then deported to Auschwitz and following the selektion process, was sent to the Warsaw ghetto. In the ghetto he was forced to collect remaining valuables and assets of former Jewish residents. Following his time in the ghetto, he survived a death march from Warsaw, ending up in Dachau. From there he was sent to Kaufering IV, and Allach camp where he was liberated by the US army.
After the war, Librati returned to France and settled in Paris. He built a successful career in the clothing manufacturing industry, consistently maintaining his dedication to Holocaust remembrance. Over the years, he has been instrumental in organizing and participating in youth trips to Poland and has actively sponsored many commemorative events at Yad Vashem and in France. Along with Yad Vashem's new Janusz Korczak Square, Librati donated the Garden for Children Without a Childhood in recognition of the great gift that he believes he was granted many years back - his life.