Holocaust survivors honored with online event amid pandemic


FILE – In this May 8, 1945 file photo Parisians march through the Arc de Triomphe jubilantly waving flags of the Allied Nations as they celebrate the end of World War II in Europe. Nazi commanders signed their surrender to Allied forces in a French schoolhouse 75 years ago this week, ending World War II in Europe and the Holocaust. (AP Photo, File)

BERLIN (AP) — 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.

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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