Shalom Life | January 24, 2015

21 American Survivors of Auschwitz Return for 70th Anniversary of its Liberation

Survivors from ages 81 to 94 accompanied by grandchildren, to join Ronald S. Lauder, Steven Spielberg, Haim Saban, and world leaders

By: ShalomLife Team

Published: January 21st, 2015 in News » World

21 American Survivors of Auschwitz Return for 70th Anniversary of its Liberation

A historic delegation of 21 American survivors of Auschwitz will head to Poland next week to participate in the Jan. 27 observance of the 70th anniversary of the camp’s liberation, for International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The American delegation to Auschwitz is being organized by the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and the USC Shoah Foundation and each survivor will attend the event with a child or grandchild.

Given the age (81 to 94) and condition of the survivors, the WJC has also arranged a special medical team of 12 doctors, psychologists, and nurses to care for them during their return to Auschwitz, which is sure to be emotionally powerful and physically taxing.

Ronald S. Lauder, president of the WJC, who will be joining the survivors in Poland, will be one of the keynote speakers at the ceremony in Auschwitz. Lauder has been involved in the restoration and preservation of Auschwitz-Birkenau for more than 20 years and has helped to raise $40 million from 19 countries to ensure that the camp forever be preserved for future generations. He also financed the creation of the conservation laboratory at the Auschwitz Memorial, which preserves every shoe, every document, and every building that remained at the site.

“The World Jewish Congress is humbled and honored that so many of these aging survivors will travel with us to Auschwitz,” said Robert Singer, Chief Executive Officer of the WJC. “This may be the last major anniversary we will be able to remember with those who experienced the Holocaust firsthand. From this historic event, their voices will echo across the generations."

More than 100 Auschwitz survivors from at least 19 countries will travel to Poland as part of the World Jewish Congress delegation to the official event, which will be organized by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and the International Auschwitz Council, The World Jewish Congress and the USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education.

The ceremony will host state leaders from Poland, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, The Netherlands, Croatia, and other countries. Other notable guests will include film director Steven Spielberg, founding chair of the USC Shoah Foundation; Israeli-American businessman Haim Saban; and other Auschwitz 70th anniversary committee members.

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