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London - Olympic Swimmer Memorializes His Jewish Grandfather In Unconventional Way

Published on: August 1, 2012 03:46 PM
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Members of France's 4x100m men's freestyle relay team Clement Lefert, Fabien Gilot and Amaury Leveaux cheer as their anchor Yannick Agnel swims the final leg, during the event final at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre July 29, 2012. Gilot and his Hebrew tattoo can be seen on his left arm. Photo: ReutersMembers of France's 4x100m men's freestyle relay team Clement Lefert, Fabien Gilot and Amaury Leveaux cheer as their anchor Yannick Agnel swims the final leg, during the event final at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre July 29, 2012. Gilot and his Hebrew tattoo can be seen on his left arm. Photo: Reuters

London - French swimmer Fabien Gilot generated a lot of buzz this week at the 2012 Olympic Games. But it wasn’t just because he and his teammates won a historic gold medal for France in the 4X100 freestyle relay.

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Yediot Ahronot reports (http://bit.ly/R7GSZJ) that Gilot surprised viewers in both Israel and across the world when they noticed Gilot had a tattoo written in Hebrew lettering. The tattoo, featured prominently on his left arm, reads: אני כלום בלעדיהם‎ “I am nothing without them.”

Gilot explained that the tattoo is a tribute to his grandmother’s husband, Max Goldschmidt, a Holocaust survivor who witnessed and endured the horrors of Auschwitz and greatly influenced the Olympic champion.

“Max was a Jew who survived the Holocaust and Auschwitz,” explained Michel Gilot, Fabien’s father. “He was born in Berlin and moved to France after the war. In Fabien’s eyes, he was a hero. He admired him and was very attached to him. He was a grandfather in every way.”

Max died earlier this year, but he was aware of Fabien’s tattoo and his swimming accomplishments, according to Fabien’s father.

The swimmer has other tattoos including one of the Olympic rings and one of three stars to symbolize each of his brothers.


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Read Comments (15)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Aug 01, 2012 at 05:05 PM mogenavrochom Says:

I think someone from Chabad should speak to Gilot about joining us as a fellow Yid.He seems like a special person for giving credit to his Jewish grandfather.

2

 Aug 01, 2012 at 05:13 PM lamdan Says:

What a busha to use a tattoo that's asur to honor a jew

3

 Aug 01, 2012 at 07:01 PM Ploni Says:

Reply to #1  
mogenavrochom Says:

I think someone from Chabad should speak to Gilot about joining us as a fellow Yid.He seems like a special person for giving credit to his Jewish grandfather.

יישר כוח כפול to mogenavrochom, firstly for being clever enough not to fall into the reflexive trap of condemning M. Gilot for being tattooed, and also for being far-sighted enough to suggest that young Gilot be encouraged to "return to the fold"!

4

 Aug 01, 2012 at 07:02 PM fabien Says:

#2. A naar veist men nisht kein halbe arbeit.

5

 Aug 01, 2012 at 07:09 PM HaNavon Says:

#2,

You're wrong. He's not Jewish, so a tattoo is not assur for him.
In an odd way, this is a geder of a kiddush Hashem.
His grandfather was a Jew who was m'kedesh sheim shamayim with the tattoo placed upon his arm, and his non jewish grandson is machshiv that. I do t think there's anything wrong with this. Addarabah!

6

 Aug 01, 2012 at 07:39 PM harryw Says:

Reply to #1  
mogenavrochom Says:

I think someone from Chabad should speak to Gilot about joining us as a fellow Yid.He seems like a special person for giving credit to his Jewish grandfather.

For now, just let him be where he is. First we need to take care inside before we look the outside world

Thanks

7

 Aug 01, 2012 at 06:44 PM my2cence Says:

#2, it's because of you that there are many Jews today that unfortunately are what they are!

8

 Aug 01, 2012 at 08:33 PM ShalomCon Says:

When there are so many descendents of intermarriage out there trying to ignore or erase their Jewish heritage, this is a beautiful sight.

A message we should all take to heart.

9

 Aug 01, 2012 at 09:08 PM mogenavrochom Says:

Reply to #3  
Ploni Says:

יישר כוח כפול to mogenavrochom, firstly for being clever enough not to fall into the reflexive trap of condemning M. Gilot for being tattooed, and also for being far-sighted enough to suggest that young Gilot be encouraged to "return to the fold"!

Thank you.
May G-D bless you and you family.

10

 Aug 01, 2012 at 10:29 PM yaakov321 Says:

There is nothing worse to the visual accomplishment of any jew than to tattoo any hebrew letters on their body. Hebrew is the coded language of humanity and life and to think that the very letters of Torah could be used to disgrace Torah is a completely horrible consideration. Since he is not a jew, this clearly does not apply to him. Sadly however, I fear that his pride may spill over to the yidden who are impressionable and may elect to tattoo hebrew letters on their body. I have seen some of the most heinous examples of disregard for Torah on line in places that I have somehow come across that showed hebrew tattoos (I actually googled Chai). I must say it was the most troubling think especially in light of the holocaust that any jew might willingly write a hebrew letter on his soul. And to tell you the most heinous of all, G-ds name was included in some of their frightfully heretical and wicked displays. That is something that you can not desecrate.

11

 Aug 02, 2012 at 06:42 AM HaNavon Says:

#10,

The issur of Kak'ea applies to any letters, not specifically to Hebrew lettering.

12

 Aug 02, 2012 at 06:55 AM MyComment Says:

Reply to #10  
yaakov321 Says:

There is nothing worse to the visual accomplishment of any jew than to tattoo any hebrew letters on their body. Hebrew is the coded language of humanity and life and to think that the very letters of Torah could be used to disgrace Torah is a completely horrible consideration. Since he is not a jew, this clearly does not apply to him. Sadly however, I fear that his pride may spill over to the yidden who are impressionable and may elect to tattoo hebrew letters on their body. I have seen some of the most heinous examples of disregard for Torah on line in places that I have somehow come across that showed hebrew tattoos (I actually googled Chai). I must say it was the most troubling think especially in light of the holocaust that any jew might willingly write a hebrew letter on his soul. And to tell you the most heinous of all, G-ds name was included in some of their frightfully heretical and wicked displays. That is something that you can not desecrate.

So R' Yaakov what are you (we) doing about it?. Just lamenting?. We closed our Kinos this past Sunday night. Did you (we) reach out and teach them about G-d? Are we so sure we are not to blame for all this desecration? Maybe our souls tattooed and therefore ineffective in influencing ourselves and the masses out there to follow the word of G-d? what a nightmare. So lets not rush to judge anyone.

13

 Aug 02, 2012 at 08:47 AM Anonymous Says:

He is not Jewish. He is paying tribute to the Jewish man that his non-Jewish grandmother married.

14

 Aug 02, 2012 at 01:19 PM BLONDI Says:

here's a young french person who is PROUD of his grandmother's choice. and willing to share it and show to the world. dont knock him....we need more like him in this world, too many hate us.
merci fabien. bravo

15

 Aug 02, 2012 at 06:57 PM yaakov321 Says:

Reply to #12  
MyComment Says:

So R' Yaakov what are you (we) doing about it?. Just lamenting?. We closed our Kinos this past Sunday night. Did you (we) reach out and teach them about G-d? Are we so sure we are not to blame for all this desecration? Maybe our souls tattooed and therefore ineffective in influencing ourselves and the masses out there to follow the word of G-d? what a nightmare. So lets not rush to judge anyone.

I personally took the only action I could and I blogged and documented the ideas and issues on a few different places on a few blogs. Sure I wont reach most of those people, but its a tragic expression.

Using hebrew letters as a jew to tattoo yourself superceded the evil of a plain tattoo alone because the hebrew letters contain kedusha and the letters are being used in their holiness to commit a horrible act. This is the issue.

16

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