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An Israeli Aims for the Stars

June 11, 2002|From Reuters

JERUSALEM -- Israel's first astronaut, who lost relatives to Nazi death camps, will blast into orbit with a picture of the moon drawn by a Jewish child killed in World War II, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial here announced Monday.

Ilan Ramon, a colonel in the Israeli air force, will be launched July 19 aboard the space shuttle Columbia, taking with him "Moon Landscape," a drawing by 14-year-old Peter Ginz, who died in the Auschwitz death camp.

"I feel that my journey fulfills the dream of Peter Ginz 58 years on--a dream that is ultimate proof of the greatness of the soul of a boy imprisoned within the ghetto walls," a Yad Vashem statement quoted Ramon as saying in Houston, where he is training.

"Ginz's drawings, stored at Yad Vashem, are a testimony to the triumph of the spirit," he said.

Ramon, a payload specialist, is due to take part in a 16-day mission to conduct scientific research. His grandfather and other family members died in concentration camps.

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