“It was with great sadness that I received the news that H.E. Shevah Weiss had passed away. A wonderful man, a Jew, an Israeli patriot who loved and respected Poland. Knight of the Order of the White Eagle. A great loss for us and for Polish-Israeli relations. RIP" — this is the entry by the President of the Republic of Poland, Mr. Andrzej Duda, which was posted on his website by the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland.
Prof. Shevah Weiss passed away on February 3, 2023 in Israel. He lived 87 years.
He was the chairman of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, in the years 1992-1996, and for 6 years the World Chairman of the Yad Vashem Institute of National Remembrance. In 2001-2003 he was the Israeli ambassador to Poland.
My name is Shevah Weiss, I am a child of the Holocaust. I and my whole family were saved by the Righteous Among the Nations: a Ukrainian woman and Poles from my hometown of Borysław.
Shevah Weiss was born on July 5, 1935 in Borysław in the eastern borderlands of Poland. When the soldiers of Nazi Germany entered those areas, he was 6 years old. The Weiss family was helped first by a Ukrainian woman, and later by Polish neighbors who, risking their own lives, provided them with a hiding place in the basement.
Poles risked their own lives as well as the lives of their families saving every person of Jewish descent during the German occupation of Poland.
I remember how German soldiers were looking for us in one of the hiding places: 'Juden, juden' – they shouted. There are many places in Poland where Jews were saved at the risk of their own lives. The price that Poles risked for this noble human impulse was the price of life. There was a death penalty for that. In this way, the Ulma couple from the village of Markowa died together with their six small children. It is the pinnacle of human values. This is what Poles can and should be proud of.
said Shevah Weiss in one of his speeches.
Prof. Shevah Weiss also remembered about the Polish organization "Żegota" established to save people of Jewish origin during the German occupation in Poland. It was the only state institution in occupied Europe at that time that helped Jews.
The Weiss family managed to survive. Immediately after the UN announced the decision to establish the state of Israel in 1947, young Shevah and his brother decided to leave. He made his way from Poland through Europe, Italy, and later by sea, to Palestine.
Once in the newly established state of Israel, he graduated from an agricultural school with a certificate in biology, and then served two years in the Israeli Armed Forces.
In the years 1959-1961 he studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he obtained a master's degree in political science, specializing in international relations. He also studied law at Tel Aviv University. He graduated from this university in 1965 and in 1969 he defended his doctoral thesis in philosophy at the University of Jerusalem.
From 1975, he was a full professor of political science at the University of Haifa, where he founded the Department of Media. Prof. Weiss was also a longtime radio journalist.
For Poles, the activity of Prof. Weiss as the Israeli ambassador in Warsaw is of particular importance. He held this position in the years 2001-2004.
From 2003, he taught at the Faculty of Journalism and Political Science at the University of Warsaw, and from 2008, he headed the Center for Research on Contemporary Israel at this university.
Shevah Weiss was a great advocate of good Polish-Jewish relations based on common understanding. Both nations have a common baggage of tradition, culture and history. He was a supporter of dialogue, in many of his publications he emphasized the ideas of peace, friendship and cooperation.
He was a wise and noble man. Warm and cordial. He liked oranges...