Holocaust Survivors and the State of Israel

“The view of Haifa from the ship when we first arrived is something I will always remember”

Aharon Barak

Escape from the Kovno ghetto and rescue by the Lithuanian farmers

Prof. Aharon Barak is the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Israel and a winner of the Israel Prize for Legal Studies.

Aharon Barak was born in 1936 in Kovno, Lithuania. “I was five years old when I, together with my parents and the rest of the Jews of Kovno in Lithuania - about 29,000 men, women, children, and infants- entered the Kovno ghetto.”

After the war, Barak underwent a long and arduous journey to the land of Israel. “I will never forget our flight from Lithuania to Poland, from Poland to Romania, from Romania to Hungary, from Hungary to Russian-controlled Austria, sneaking over the border. When we arrived, we crossed the border and were suddenly met by a division of the Jewish Brigade soldiers bearing the symbol of our flag. Those are things that will never be forgotten. The view of Haifa from the ship when we first arrived is something I will always remember.”

Barak studied in Hebrew University’s high school, and continued to pursue his studies at the Hebrew University, where he studied law. His academic career led him to the position of Dean of the Faculty of Law at Hebrew University. At age 39, in 1975, he was awarded the Israel Prize for Legal Studies. He then served as legal advisor to the government and participated in the 1978 peace negotiations with Egypt. Appointed to the Supreme Court of Israel in 1978, Barak served on the court for 28 years. During his last 11 years on the bench he served as Chief Justice of the court.