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In memoriam: ambassador Moshé Liba

by Paul Comenencia

The Liberal Jewish Community of The Hague announced the passing this week of its esteemed member, Ambassador Moshé Liba, retired diplomat, university professor, author, artist, and a big fan of the Papiamentu language. 

Ambassador Liba retired to The Hague years ago, following a distinguished career in the Israeli foreign service, having represented the State of Israel for 31 years as ambassador and consul general in 15 countries.
Among his postings was Caracas, from where he frequently visited Curaçao, learning about our language, and adding to his library several publications on Papiamentu and Dutch Caribbean Jewish history and customs. 
Moshé Liba also served as director general of Israel’s Central Institute of Cultural Relations, the Israeli School of Diplomats, and the African Department of the Israel Foreign Ministry, and taught at universities in Israel, Cameroon, and New Zealand. 

A survivor of the Shoah, he spoke and published extensively about his and others’ experience with violence, death, grief and suffering, captivating his audiences with his compelling stories. He loved to draw and paint, illustrating most of his books himself, and generously sharing his art with others.
His genuine interest for Papiamentu and his surprisingly profound understanding of the fundamentals of our language helped convince me to accept his invitation to translate his poem collection The Holocaust: between me and myself. Ronnie Severing of Fundashon pa Planifikashon di Idioma saw the book’s potential as a tool to increase secondary school student understanding of the Holocaust, and in 2009 the Papiamentu edition was launched, with support from the Prince Bernhard Culture Fund. 

Out of that experience grew our family’s friendship with Moshé and his wife An, herself a retired ambassador of the Dutch foreign service. I will miss the conversations with Moshé about his career and about the personal and professionals trials he endured, and our discussions about world affairs.
As the board of his Jewish community in The Hague wrote in their tribute to Moshé Liba: may his soul be included in the bundle of eternal life.

on 18.07.2021 at 13:46
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