Pierre Perelmuter: A Visionary Gives the Gift of Sight
We recently interviewed Pierre, a resident of Monaco, to talk about his gift of state-of-the-art ophthalmology equipment for the Assuta Ashdod Ophthalmic Institute. His gift is his legacy to Israel and the Jewish people, enabling residents of Ashdod and the surrounding region to have access to a complete suite of the latest ophthalmological services under one roof. Below is his story.
“For several years, as a small child, my older brother and I were separated from our parents. It was WWII, the Nazis had invaded Belgium, and we were sent into hiding—moving six or seven times over the course of the war, to avoid detection. When the war was over, we experienced a miracle. Our parents survived too. They found us and we were able to be together once again.
In 1946, when I was about nine years old, I became interested in Israel, listening to the radio and reading about the Zionists in the newspapers. I heard news of small boats of Jews arriving in Israel, met by members of the Hagana and taken to a safe place. Other times, we heard stories of boats that were turned away like the Exodus, and Jews brought to refugee camps in Cyprus and other countries. When I was 11 years old, the 1948 Arab-Israeli war broke out. All Jews living in Israel had to fight for our country. I remember hearing about how many young people gave their lives to hold the road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but they made it. So why am I telling you this story? Because these were my heroes. After the horrors experienced in Europe, they gave me back my dignity and my pride in being a Jew. Even today, young people in Israel give up years of their lives to protect Israel and are ready to be called again to defend our Jewish State.
This is the reason for my gift.
Every day I think about how proud I am, but my pride is tinged with sadness for all of the Jews who lost their lives in Europe and in Israel. They never had the opportunity to have children or grandchildren. That is why it is an honor for me to support Assuta Ashdod. To me, the money I give is a small detail. Most important is the land of Israel and all the Jewish people that I can help through my donation. This is my pride, my dignity and a lasting legacy for my children and grandchildren.”