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Holocaust survivors’ Hanukkah event held online for 1st time due to pandemic

Ceremony organized by Jewish Claims Conference with participants from around the globe honors those killed by the Nazis and urges raised awareness of anti-Semitism

Illustrative: A man walks through the gate of the Sachsenhausen Nazi death camp with the phrase 'Arbeit macht frei' (work sets you free) in Oranienburg, Germany, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, 2019. (Markus Schreiber/AP)
Illustrative: A man walks through the gate of the Sachsenhausen Nazi death camp with the phrase 'Arbeit macht frei' (work sets you free) in Oranienburg, Germany, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, 2019. (Markus Schreiber/AP)

BERLIN — An annual event bringing together Holocaust survivors from around the world to mark the start of Hanukkah was held online for the first time Sunday due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The event organized by the Jewish Claims Conference also paid tribute to those killed by the Nazis and raised awareness of anti-Semitism.

“Each survivor is a living example of the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil,” said Gideon Taylor, president of the Claims Conference. “You are heroes to the Jewish people and to the world.”

The event included a livestream of speeches by survivors, their advocates, musical performances and the menorah lighting from the Western Wall in Jerusalem and other locations around the world.

Gideon Taylor, the chair of operations for The World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO), at The Times of Israel’s Jerusalem office on June 7, 2016. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/Times of Israel)

Among the survivors who spoke was Walter Breindel, who fled Austria at the age of four with his mother and brother. Breindel recalled how he would normally spend Hanukkah with his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but is alone this year.

“Hopefully next year it will not be a memory but we shall be together in reality,” he said.

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