Hosted By The Claims Conference, International Holocaust Survivors Night Features Messages From Celebrities, Dignitaries And Fellow Survivors From More Than A Dozen Countries, Culminating With An Official Menorah Lighting In Honor Of Survivors At The Kotel In Israel.
NEW YORK, Dec. 11, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference), announced today that the 7th annual International Holocaust Survivors Night (IHSN) will be held globally – and virtually – on the fifth night of Chanukah, Monday, December 11, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
Co-hosted by broadcast journalists Katy Tur of MSNBC’s Katy Tur Reports, Co-anchor of CBS Mornings Tony Dokoupil, and Claims Conference EVP Greg Schneider, this year’s virtual event focuses on a theme of remembrance with participants sharing messages that pledge to remember the lessons taught to us through the resilience of survivors. Celebrity greetings include messages from Barbra Streisand, Billy Crystal, Jamie Lee Curtis, Debra Messing, Rob Reiner, Jason Alexander, Mayim Bialik, Adam Arkin, Katie Couric, Meredith Vieira and Tovah Feldshuh. Participants in the event will be entertained by a musical performance from Grammy and Tony Award winning singer Barry Manilow as well as the cast of Harmony.
Dignitaries participating include: President of Israel, Isaac Herzog; German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz; German Finance Minister, Christian Lindner; Austrian Minister of Finance, Dr. Magnus Brunner; U.S. State Department Advisor on Holocaust issues, Chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat; U.S. State Department Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues, Ellen Germain; as well as Holocaust Envoys from the U.K., Canada and Germany; Holocaust institution leaders including Yad Vashem Chairman, Dani Dayan; U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Director, Sara J. Bloomfield; President and CEO of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City, Jack Kliger; Finci-Viterbi Executive Director of USC Shoah Foundation, Robert J. Williams and many more.
The virtual event also will feature messages of remembrance from Holocaust survivors from more than a dozen countries, including ADL Director Emeritus Abe Foxman; Chairperson of the Center Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel, Ambassador Colette Avital; famed Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld; Executive Vice President, World Federation of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendants, Max Arpels Lezer; and Auschwitz survivor and speaker, Leon Weintraub, who was in Israel on October 7th.
Gideon Taylor, President of the Claims Conference, said, “This year, International Holocaust Survivors Night takes on unique significance. As we celebrate Holocaust survivors around the world today and vow to remember their legacy, we are reminded that some of the strongest among us survived during the darkest of times.”
Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, stated, “Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israel has affected us all deeply. Something of abyssal evil broke free that day. The perpetrators’ motive is clear: they wanted to hit Israel, the Jewish state. They wanted to murder Jews. In its repugnant brutality and abhorrence, however, the terror is also directed against humanity itself.” Scholz, later referred to Holocaust survivors adding, “I try to imagine how much the images from Israel, how much antisemitic hatred on the internet and on the streets around the world must be hitting you, of all people right in the heart. This idea pains me a lot. You have experienced immeasurable horror and suffering. You have fought for your lives with unimaginable strength. We will ensure that the crime against humanity of the Shoah committed by Germans will never be forgotten.”
President of Israel, Isaac Herzog, described survivors as an example of how to find hope even in unthinkable situations. “You have experienced the worst human cruelty, and yet, you are the living proof that there is always hope. Each of you reminds us that even from the darkest depths, light can emerge. Each of you reminds us that no matter how deep the depths of despair, the human song will continue forever within our Jewish people.”
International Holocaust Survivors Night started in 2017 as the only date on the calendar celebrating Holocaust survivors and honoring them for their sacrifice and continued contributions to the world. Every year the event ends with an official menorah lighting in honor of Holocaust survivors at the Kotel in Israel. Initial ceremonies were held in Israel, the United States and in Germany. In subsequent years, the celebration has gone virtual and grown to include participants from more than 15 countries across six continents.
Greg Schneider, Executive Vice President of the Claims Conference, said, “Holocaust survivors somehow overcame the depravity of concentration camps, death camps and killing centers among other horrors to become our living exemplars, providing a roadmap on how light can overcome darkness. Their testimonies and the lessons they have taught us through their example must be remembered for generations to come so their past does not become our future. Their resilience, their strength and their fortitude leave a truly indelible light in this world.”
Abe Foxman, Director Emeritus of the ADL stated, “Elie Wiesel taught us, if we forget the victims, we will be responsible for killing them again.” Later he explained, “So it is for us, the living, the survivors and those who care about history, to remember, to remember and tell their story.”
Leon Weintraub, a Holocaust survivor from Sweden who was in Israel on October 7th, stated, “On October 7th I woke up from the sirens in the center of Tel Aviv. All at once I was again in September 1939 when the Nazis invaded Poland. A terrible feeling, a shiver, a feeling of dread to be again in a war. We celebrate Chanukah now, the festival of lights. I hope that the light will also bring the people enlightenment. That people will rethink and look at us people of Jewish descent as normal, equal. Human beings.”
The virtual celebration will include performances and greetings from around the globe and will be streamed with captions in three languages, English, Hebrew and Russian. The event will conclude with a candle lighting at the Kotel in Israel in honor of Holocaust survivors. Anyone in the world can view the event. To join thousands of survivors, caretakers, family and friends, please click the link below on Monday, Dec. 11, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. GMT / 9:00 p.m. Israel time: Claimscon.org/SurvivorsNight2023
All communities are encouraged to honor survivors locally and around the world during this year’s International Holocaust Survivors Night by sharing pictures and videos across all social media platforms using the hashtag #IHSN2023.
For more information, please visit: www.claimscon.org
About the Claims Conference: The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference), a nonprofit organization with offices in New York, Israel, Germany and Austria, secures material compensation for Holocaust survivors around the world. Founded in 1951 by representatives of 23 major international Jewish organizations, the Claims Conference negotiates for and disburses funds to individuals and organizations and seeks the return of Jewish property stolen during the Holocaust. As a result of negotiations with the Claims Conference since 1952, the German government has paid more than $90 billion in indemnification to individuals for suffering and losses resulting from persecution by the Nazis. In 2023, the Claims Conference will distribute approximately $562 million in compensation to over 200,000 survivors in 83 countries and allocate over $750 million in grants to over 300 social service agencies worldwide that provide vital services for Holocaust survivors, such as home care, food and medicine.
For more information, please visit: www.claimscon.org
SOURCE Claims Conference