December 13, 2010
He began recitations of Holocaust victims' names
Dov Shilansky, 86, a former Israeli Parliament speaker and advocate for memorializing victims of the Holocaust, died Thursday at a Tel Aviv hospital. The cause was not given.
Shilansky served as speaker of the Parliament from 1988 to 1992. But possibly his longest-lasting legacy is a ceremony that has become part of Israel's observance of an annual memorial day for the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Concerned that the huge number was incomprehensible, in 1989 he got fellow lawmakers to stand on a podium in the Parliament building and read names of victims.
The custom, known as "Every Person Has a Name," quickly spread to public squares all over Israel.
Born in Lithuania, Shilansky immigrated to what is now Israel in 1948. A commander in the Jewish underground movement Etzel in Germany and Italy, he arrived aboard the Altalena, a ship carrying tons of arms illegally to the Etzel militia. Etzel, also known as Irgun, was disbanded when the state of Israel was formed.
Shilansky fought in the war that followed Israel's creation in 1948-49. In 1952, he was arrested for carrying explosives into the Foreign Ministry building in Tel Aviv to try to disrupt Israeli-German negotiations for a reparations agreement after the Holocaust. He was sentenced to two years in prison.
A lawyer by training, he was first elected to Parliament as a member of the hawkish Likud Party in 1977. He was later appointed a deputy minister in Prime Minister Menachem Begin's government.
Times staff and wire reports
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