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Events

Congressional Holocaust Commemoration with Greek Righteous Among the Nations

WASHINGTON, DC – Sephardic Heritage International (SHIN-DC) held its 2022 Congressional Holocaust Commemoration on January 27, featuring many distinguished guests including Greek Jewish Holocaust survivor David Baruch giving testimony, members of Congress, Greek Ambassador to the United States Alexandra Papadopoulou and other foreign dignitaries also participating.

The theme for 2022 was “Heroes and Memory” with descendants of the Righteous Among the Nations and those whom they rescued during the Holocaust, including Dimitris Kiakidis, grandson of Vasiliki and Dimitrios Kiakidis who rescued Greek Jew Donna Rodrig, taking part in the online event. In October 2021, Dimitris Kiakidis accepted the Righteous Among the Nations medal and title of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Israel— awarded to his grandparents posthumously— from Ambassador of Israel to Greece Yossi Amrani.

The Embassies of Greece and Israel in Washington partnered with SHIN-DC on the 2022 event.

Among those participating were Congressional Sponsor each year Rep. Jamie Raskin, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, and Ambassador of Portugal to the U.S. Domingos Fezas Vital.

The event also included a message from Canadian MP Alexandra Mendes, a family member of Aristides de Sousa Mendes who helped thousands of Jews flee Nazi-occupied France. The grandson of Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Louis-Philippe Mendes, also participated.

Spokesperson for the Embassy of Japan in Washington Masashi Mizobuchi, Nobuki Sugihara, son of Japanese Diplomat Chiune (Sempo) Sugihara who helped many Jews flee Europe, and Nathan Lewin, Sugihara Survivor in Washington also took part in the event.

Ambassador of Israel to the U.S. Michael Herzog shared his remarks as did Ahmed Obeid Al Mansoori, former Member of the UAE’s Parliament, Founder of the Crossroad of Civilizations Museum, UAE, First Permanent Holocaust Exhibition in the Arab World.

The event concluded with Renan Koen, pianist and Counselor of the Jewish Community of Turkey, performing a Musical Memorial to the six million Jews killed by the Nazis and their collaborators. The piece was a mazurka composed by Josima Feldschuh when she was only 11 years old in the Warsaw Ghetto. Koen shared the details of Feldschuh’s tragic story, noting that the gifted young pianist and composer left behind 18 pieces before she passed away from tuberculosis in 1943.

It should be noted that in 2021, the event featured Pfizer Chairman CEO Albert Bourla sharing his family’s Holocaust experience for the first time ever publicly.

Video of the 2022 Congressional Holocaust Commemoration is available on YouTube: https://youtu.be/yKnDHO2euhA.

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