Holocaust survivors gathering for global Hanukkah ceremonies
HUNDREDS of Holocaust survivors around the world marked the third night of Hanukkah on Tuesday, with menorah-lighting ceremonies paying tribute to them and the 6 million other Jews who were killed by the Nazis.
Initiated last year by the New York-based organization that handles claims on behalf of Jews persecuted by the Nazis, International Holocaust Survivors Night was expanded this year to include Moscow, a nod to the large number of survivors who live in Russia and other former Soviet countries.
“The sense of Hanukkah is in our dear veterans who are present here today,” Russia’s Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar said at the ceremony in the Jewish Community Center and Synagogue in Moscow. “These people have seen war, but never gave up.”
Other ceremonies were held in Berlin and Jerusalem. At a gathering of more than 100 survivors at Oheb Shalom Congregation in South Orange, New Jersey, outside New York City, Hanna Keselman recalled being separated from her parents in Germany by the Nazis. Her mother survived but her father died.
“We are what is left of a people who were not able to celebrate the Jewish religion because another government decided that we were not worthy of existing, much less openly practicing our faith,” the 87-year-old Keselman said.
“It is a miracle, after the horrors we faced, that we are celebrating Hanukkah today.”
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a former ambassador to Germany under former President Barack Obama, told the group that survivors “are owed a debt by each of us, and from all humanity.”
“All of us here who’ve listened have a responsibility to tell your stories to successive generations,” he added.
Greg Schneider, executive vice president of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, said that more than seven decades after the end of World War II it is more critical than ever to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive. – AP
Two holocaust survivors arrive for the International Holocaust Survivors Night of the Jewish Community in Berlin, Germany on Tuesday.