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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, December 19, 2022: The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference), announced today that the 6th annual International Holocaust Survivors Night (IHSN) will be held globally – and virtually – on the third night of Chanukah, on Tuesday, December 20, 2022, at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
This year’s virtual event focuses on a theme of hope in the face of rising antisemitism. Remarks will be shared by dignitaries including, Olaf Scholz, Chancellor of Germany; Isaac Herzog, President of Israel; Amb. Stuart Eizenstat, Special Adviser on Holocaust Issues to the U.S. Secretary of State; and Ellen Germain, Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues U.S. State Department.
Celebrity greetings include messages from Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award winner Barbra Streisand; Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated, actor, writer and producer, Seth Rogen; Tony Award winning and Emmy-nominated actor, Jason Alexander from Seinfeld; Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning actor, Henry Winkler from Happy Days and his current show Barry; Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award Winning actor, David Strathairn; and Emmy and Tony-nominated actress, Tovah Feldshuh currently starring in Funny Girl on Broadway. Participants in the event will be entertained by a musical performance shared from the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene cast of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, and a song from the New York-based, a cappella singing sensation, Six13.
The virtual event will also include messages of hope from Holocaust survivors recently evacuated from Ukraine as well as survivors from over a dozen countries, including, Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Director Emeritus Abe Foxman from the U.S.; Amb. Colette Avital from Israel; Kristallnacht survivor Charlotte Knobloch from Germany; famed Nazi hunter and Holocaust survivor Serge Klarsfeld from France; and Holocaust survivor and famed sex therapist, Dr. Ruth Westheimer from the U.S. Survivors will be joined by Holocaust envoys from the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany and Croatia, and leaders from Holocaust institutions including, Dani Dayan, Chairman of Yad Vashem; Sara J. Bloomfield, Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; Jack Kliger, President and CEO of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City; and many more.
Olaf Scholz, Chancellor of Germany delivered a message to survivors saying, “…the strength with which you, the survivors, have carried on, the strength with which you keep alive and pass on this memory, moves and impresses very many of us. It gives us hope. And we certainly need hope – particularly right now. Russia’s bombs and missile terror is endangering the lives and freedom of Ukrainians. Survivors of the Holocaust are also at risk, which is deeply shocking. The fact that some of them have now found refuge in Germany is very humbling for us. We are grateful to everyone who has helped them: The schools which have set up ‘welcome classes’ to enable Ukrainian children and young people to have a bright future; the communities which have taken them in. All of these examples are beacons of hope. The darker the night, the brighter they shine.”
Isaac Herzog, President of Israel also shared a message for Holocaust survivors, “…survivors of the Holocaust have experienced and witnessed, endured and overcome the darkest time of humanity. Amid the shadows that have surrounded us, I salute your deep strength, your resilience and your humanity. You’re all living proof of the human capacity to triumph over tyranny, and you are an eternal inspiration for all people everywhere.”
Gideon Taylor, President of the Claims Conference, said, “As antisemitism rises around the world and hate again becomes the normalized language of the day, survivors remind us of the importance of hope. During the Holocaust they did not give up. And after the War, they fought to carve out new lives for themselves and continue to speak and educate, all in the hope that their testimonies will win out over the hate. They never give up. Their hope is an example to us all and we have a moral imperative to carry that hope forward into the world.”
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 the official menorah lighting at the Kotel, the Western Wall, in Israel in honor of Holocaust survivors. Initial ceremonies were held in Israel, the United States, and Germany. International Holocaust Survivors Night has grown each year and now includes more than 15 countries across 6 continents.
Greg Schneider, Executive Vice President of the Claims Conference said, “Now is the time to honor survivors as our opportunities to celebrate them are waning. We honor them for the example of light over darkness they give us during the festival of lights. But we also celebrate them for the immense contributions they have given to the world – to a world that turned its back on them. We celebrate their perseverance, their resilience and the example they set for all of us.”
Alla Sinelnikova, Holocaust survivor recently evacuated from Ukraine to Germany, said, “You see, I have been living in the world for a very long time, and thanks to hope we only somehow survive. Because otherwise, you cannot live if there is no hope.”
Serge Klarsfeld, Holocaust survivor and famed Nazi hunter, said, “Chanukah, the festival of lights, is a great reminder to think of the hope we all carry. It is that hope that saw me through the Holocaust, fueled my career bringing Nazis to justice and it is that hope that I carry with me today when I see so much antisemitism and hatred in the world. We can all be a beacon of hope – a light in the darkness.”
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 #IHSN2022.
In case you missed it, the event can be watched in its entirety using this link: claimscon.org/survivorsnight2022