Holocaust survivors to celebrate resilience at Hannukah event in shadow of Israel’s war with Hamas

Cnaan Lidor is The Times of Israel's Jewish World reporter

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks during a central commemoration ceremony for the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht in the Beth Zion Synagogue in Berlin on November 9, 2023. (John MACDOUGALL / POOL / AFP)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks during a central commemoration ceremony for the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht in the Beth Zion Synagogue in Berlin on November 9, 2023. (John MACDOUGALL / POOL / AFP)

An organization aiding Holocaust survivors is celebrating their resilience with an online event later that will be held in the shadow of the war between Israel and Hamas.

The event, put together by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, will be attended by dignitaries as well as Hollywood stars.

In a statement ahead of the virtual gathering, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz references Hamas’s October 7 massacre of some 1,200 people in southern Israel and the kidnapping of some 240.

“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 says.

Organizers say President Isaac Herzog is also set to participate in the event, along with German Finance Minister Christian Lindner and the US State Department Advisor on Holocaust issues Stuart Eizenstat.

Actors Billy Crystal, Jamie Lee Curtis, Rob Reiner, Debra Messing, Jason Alexander and Mayim Bialik are also set to attend the virtual event, titled the 7th annual International Holocaust Survivors Night.

Leon Weintraub, a Holocaust survivor from Sweden who was in Israel on October 7, says in a statement that the massacre transported him back to World War II.

“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,” he says.

The Claims Conference, which represents the Jewish People in negotiations with Germany on compensation for the Holocaust, is livestreaming the event online starting 9 p.m. Monday at: Claimscon.org/SurvivorsNight2023.

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