honours Professor Ady Steg
am enclosing a translation from the French of the speech
of the President of France, Monsieur Jacques Chirac and
the reply by Professor Ady Steg to this remarkable speech
which I think should be considered for your journal.
Steg and myself are joint Chairmen of The Consultative Council
of Jewish Organisations which is one of the oldest non-Governmental
organisations at the UN. It is in this capacity that I have
forwarded the speeches to you, although of course he is
also the President of the Alliance Israelite Universelle.
occasion of which a photograph is enclosed was the Award
of the Insignia of Grand Officer of the Legion dHonneur
to Professor Ady Steg at the Palais de lElysee in
FROM THE PRESENTATION SPEECH BY PRESIDENT JACQUES CHIRAC
shall simply state this morning that as a teaching professor
you held the chair of Urology at the Cochin Hospital, that
through your work, your publications and books you are recognised
as an authority throughout the world, and that you have
won numerous awards and distinctions in France and elsewhere
in Europe. The Hebrew University in Jerusalem awarded you
an honorary doctorate, as did the University of Athens last
year, and this may well be followed by one from Rome, in
recognition of your outstanding achievements. As a "senior
administrator" you have acquired authority and fame.
As a doctor of medicine you have a down-to-earth simplicity.
is just as much for the distance you have travelled as for
the point that you have reached that I should like to congratulate
you, first and foremost.
whole life has been lived beneath the sign of commitment.
committed yourself to the community. You were Vice-Chairman
of the World Union of Jewish Students and President of the
Alliance Israélite Universelle. This last responsibility
is probably the one that matches your personality the best,
given your desire to pass on your knowledge and to study,
as well as a sense of dialogue, openness to others, and
respect for others.
is the commitment of the grown man, a Frenchman and a Jew,
a Jew and a Frenchman, who wanted to reconstruct, revive
and rebuild that which the Shoah tried to destroy. The message
is there. You carry with you the aspirations of a multi-cultural
citizenry for whom love of France and love of Israel, concern
for Israel are inseparable.
signifies the recognition by all of the legitimacy of the
State of Israel, of its inalienable right to safe and recognised
borders, whilst naturally respecting the other peoples in
the region. Everyone knows there can be no solution other
Ady Steg, it is for the whole of your lifes journey,
in your professional, personal, moral and spiritual capacity,
travelled in the greatest harmony with your lady wife, who
has had the same goals and share everything with you, and
to whom I present my affectionate homage, that today France
offers you its highest accolade. I shall be awarding it
to a teacher, a chairman and a public figure, but just as
much to the little seven year old boy who came to France
with a wide-open heart.
BY PROFESSOR ADY STEG TO THE SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF
is with a heart full of gratitude that I come, Mr President,
to express to you my deepest thanks for the eminent distinction
of the accolade that you have awarded me at this wonderful
ceremony to which you had the finesse to invite such a huge
crowd of my friends.
to you and through your voice, France recognised its responsibility
for the role played by the Vichy Government in the anti-semitic
persecution under the Occupation. You considered that you
had a moral duty in this regard. "Recognising the wrongs
of the past", you declared. "and the wrongs committed
by the State, concealing nothing of the blackest hours of
I dared, I would abrogate to myself the power of the Chief
Rabbi of France, who has the right to bless the country,
something which, in fact, all our rabbis do every Saturday
morning in synagogue, reciting the prayer that begins with:
May France live happily and prosperously, may it be strong
and great among the nations".
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