Survivors Unite at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City

Over 100 Holocaust survivors gathered at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City. Their goal: to demand the immediate release of captives held by terrorists in Gaza and send a message of support to their families.

The event was organized by the Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation (AJCF) in collaboration with Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island (JCCGCI), Nachas Health and Family Network, Selfhelp Community Services, Guardians of the Sick / Boro Park Bikur Cholim, the Museum of Jewish Heritage Museum which also hosted the event, and the Claims Conference.

Holocaust survivors, were joined by Claims Conference Executive Vice President, Greg Schneider to display support for the hostages.

“This event was a remarkable experience, a spark of hope in a very dark time. Holocaust survivors across the globe have been tremendously pained by recent events, reliving the traumatic experiences of their youth over and over again with each news cycle. The message they sent today was a powerful one of unity and solidarity with the hostages and their families. Holocaust survivors are a living, breathing symbol of fortitude and strength, and a reminder that with every horror inflicted upon us, the Jewish nation endures,” said Rabbi Moshe Wiener, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island (JCCGCI).

The highlight of the event was when each of the Holocaust survivors stood side by side, each holding an image of one of the kidnapped hostages. The photos could be found all over social media this week under the hashtag, #NeverAgainIsNow.

Toby Levy, a Holocaust survivor born in 1933 in Poland who survived in hiding with her family and now lives in Manhattan, New York attended the event and participated by holding up a poster of one of the hostages. Toby said she felt the need to show her support. “No one is telling Hamas to let the hostages go,” she said.

Toby said she feels lucky to be able to attend and wanted to support each hostage in the photos she held. “Maybe my positivity or my luck will transfer to one of them. Maybe my luck will do some good to the whole thing,” she said.

The event was honored to have in attendance U.S. Congressman Dan Goldman; German Deputy Consul General Carsten Ruepke; Aviv Ezra, Acting Consul General, Israel in New York; and Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine as well as New York City Council members Eric Dinowitz, Simcha Eichenstein and Julie Menin.

As the war in Israel escalates, so does concern for the hostages. The International Red Cross has not been allowed to visit the hostages as would be normal humanitarian aid during times of conflict. The survivors at the event this week asked the world to stand up and declare this unacceptable.

In speaking to the group, Claims Conference Executive Vice President, Greg Schneider, said: “if you need an example of how to stand up, look no further than the Holocaust survivors all around us. They teach us strength, tenacity and resilience. After living through the darkest atrocities in history, they went on to rebuild their lives from nothing, raising families, creating community, and contributing to society. Through their example, they have given us the ultimate roadmap, not just a way forward, but a path out of horror and trauma with dignity and grace.”

Holocaust survivors displaying support for those taken hostage by Gazan terrorists.

Many survivors told me that it wasn’t easy for them to attend – neither physically nor emotionally – yet, they felt compelled. Our gratitude goes to the organizers who helped the survivors feel that they were making a difference. Ultimately, it is Holocaust survivors who show the world what humanity looks like, not just in words but in action.