Holocaust Survivors, Celebrating Freedom in U.s., Memorialize Slain Turkish Jews

Some 5,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors gathered at the foot of the Statue of Liberty Sunday to thank the United States for providing a safe haven and home. They also turned their thoughts to the latest victims of anti-Semitism: the 21 Jewish worshippers murdered at prayer Saturday in Neve Shalom Synagogue, Istanbul, Turkey.

Benjamin Meed, president of the American Gathering/Federation of Jewish Holocaust survivors, who chaired the ceremonies, said:

“We call today upon the leaders of the free world to find ways to combat and stop these murderous acts, before it is too late. Will we allow history to repeat itself? Let our voices be heard today, loud and clear: Never again!”

Some 1,500 survivors who packed the grand ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria Sunday night heard Elie Wiesel, chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, call for “universal condemnation and retaliation.” He added:

“The reaction must come not only from the Jewish people but from everybody. If not, what happens to Jews will happen –as it is already happening in the case of hijack victims–to all peoples.”

Wiesel suggested that a similarity exists between recent terrorist actions and Nazi persecution of Jews. “Whenever our enemies attack us,” he said, “they begin by attacking the synagogue.”

The celebration at the statue marked the 40th anniversary of the arrival in the United States of the first Holocaust survivors under the 1946 Truman Act.

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