NEW YORK, May 4, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Holocaust survivors, educators, leaders, and historians from around the world will kick off Liberation75 on May 4, 2021 at NOON ET with a global moment of sharing the #ItStartedWithWords digital campaign, created by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) and Holocaust survivors from around the world.

#ItStartedWithWords is a digital Holocaust education campaign posting weekly video posts from Holocaust survivors (which already have garnered nearly 4 million views on Facebook) from across the world. Each video features a survivor telling of the moments that led up to the Holocaust; a period of time when they could not have predicted the ease with which their long-time neighbors, teachers, classmates, and colleagues would turn on them, before words of hate turned to acts of violence.

Liberation75 is the world’s largest international event to mark the 75th anniversary of liberation from the Holocaust. Over the course of five days, beginning May 4, 2021 Liberation75 will bring together thousands of people from around the world committed to fighting antisemitism and racism, and continuing Holocaust education and remembrance. Liberation75 will kick off with a global moment of sharing the #ItStartedWithWords campaign video. The entire event is virtual and registration for Liberation75 is free.

Gideon Taylor, President of the Claims Conference said, “The survivors we work with are excited and gratified by the extraordinary attention their #ItStartedWithWords videos have been receiving. Their dedication to this work is an inspiration to all of us. We are thrilled to be a part of the kick-off of Liberation75, where the voices of Holocaust survivors will be elevated further during a global moment of simultaneous sharing of their videos over social media platforms.”

In the most recent videos posted for this campaign we learn about Ruth Herzberg Sirkes and her family, who encountered signs that read, “Jews, Do Not Sit” on the park benches where they had previously found refuge; we hear from Roman Kent who recalls being taunted by children on his way to school: “Dirty Jews!” they yelled; and we learn how Shraga Milstein and his father reacted as they endured jeers while they walked down the street in their neighborhood. The campaign video, which will be shared globally at NOON ET on May 4, 2021 to kick off Liberation75, already has over three million views.

Nearly 50 museums and institutions from around the world are participating in the #ItStartedWithWords campaign including: the United Nations (UN); the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM); Yad Vashem; the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA); Fondation Pour La Memoire De La Shoah; the Anne Frank House, Netherlands; UNESCO; the Memorial of the Murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin; the Anne Frank Center, Argentina; the Montreal Holocaust Museum; Holocaust Educational Trust of the UK; the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust; Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center; the Museum of Jewish Heritage; POLIN, Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw and many more.

To provide educational resources from partner museums and institutions, as well as the collection of the survivor videos from the campaign, the Claims Conference has also launched ItStartedWithWords.org, a web site that will serve as a resource for educators around the world.

About the Claims Conference: The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference), a nonprofit organization with offices in New York, Tel Aviv and Germany secures material compensation for Holocaust survivors around the world. Founded in 1951 by representatives of 23 major international Jewish organizations, the Claims Conference negotiates for and disburses funds to individuals and organizations and seeks the return of Jewish property stolen during the Holocaust. As a result of negotiations with the Claims Conference since 1952, the German government has paid more than $80 billion in indemnification to individuals for suffering and losses resulting from persecution by the Nazis. In 2021, the Claims Conference will distribute approximately $625 million in direct compensation to over 260,000 survivors in 83 countries and allocate approximately $653 million in grants to over 300 social service agencies worldwide that provide vital services for Holocaust survivors, such as homecare, food and medicine.

SOURCE Claims Conference

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