It was the second annual International Holocaust Survivors Night event.
Gatherings of Holocaust survivors around the world set out to mark the third night of Hanukkah with a message about the rise of anti-Semitism. In some Jewish communities, there are very few survivors left to tell the tales that occurred during the Holocaust. With most of the survivors in their 80s and 90s, there may not be many survivors left to tell future generations what occurred during World War II.
To these individuals, it is more important than ever to tell their story because of the rise in anti-Semitism being seen across Europe and the United States. Some of the survivors fear if they are not around to talk about the dangers of hate groups and oppression, the world could fall backwards and allow atrocities to grow at home.
The International Holocaust Survivors Night event organized by the New York-based Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany brought hundreds of survivors together all over the world in its second year.
Dozens of survivors in Russia participated in the menorah lighting ceremony and dinner. Germany saw almost 400 people and over 250 survivors celebrated at the Western Wall. Claims Conference says that it is important to celebrate such gatherings as a way to make sure that people remember the troubled past. Shlomo Gur, a vice president of the organization, had this to say:
“We need to make sure more and more people remember. This event gives us hope – it’s an expression of overcoming the tragedy, bringing people from darkness into light.”
The last few years have struck a somber tone in the Jewish communities that typically host menorah lighting ceremonies due to attacks against Jewish people. In particular, the white supremacist march in Virginia along with this year’s recent synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh have served to remind the older generation there is still a lot of hatred towards Jewish people in the world today.
Although the Holocaust survivors are becoming older and frailer, many of them feel that their message of perseverance will continue to last. After all, the story of the menorah is all about the Jewish people being able to use their faith to outlast times of trials and tribulations. Although the world seems to be trending towards a period of hardship and discord, the illumination of the Jewish faith, as embodied by the Holocaust survivors, shows that there will always be people willing to speak out against wrongdoers.
- Huffington Post
- The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany
- The Associated Press
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