War victims to unite for rally in New York City

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War victims to unite for rally in New York City

NEW YORK - Holocaust survivors and Korean victims of sexual slavery at the hands of the Japanese military will come together next month to raise international awareness of the atrocities committed during World War II.

The two groups will gather together in New York on Dec. 13 to give witness to the crimes carried out against them, said representatives from the Korean American Voters’ Council (KAVC) and the Harriet and Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center on Monday. Two “comfort women” from Korea are scheduled to attend the event, the organizers said, including Lee Yong-soo, who testified about her experience as a sex slave before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Subcommittee in February 2007.

The organizers said the event was set on Dec. 13 to mark the 1,000th street rally by comfort women and their supporters in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, which will fall on Dec. 14 Korean time and Dec. 13 in New York. The street protests of the comfort women, which started on Jan. 8, 1992, have been held on and off with the number of the attending survivors on the decline in recent years. Most of the survivors are now over 80 years old and there are less than 70 remaining.

The organizers announced the plan at a press conference and two Holocaust survivors attended it, including Ethel Katz, 89, who lost her entire family in February 1943.

At the press conference, Katz said her family was caught hiding in a farm house in southern Poland by the Nazis. The Nazi soldiers stormed into the house and she was hit by the butt of a rifle and knocked unconscious. When she opened her eyes, she said she saw her parents and three other siblings including her older brother killed. The German soldiers thought her already dead and left. She said that she can’t forget the horror that she felt during her next four months on the run. She said she could understand the sorrow and anger of comfort women.

Another Holocaust survivor Hanne Liebmann, 87, parted for good with her mother at a detention camp in southern France. Her mother was taken on a train to the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz, Poland. Liebmann criticized Japan, saying it is yet to acknowledge their crimes against the comfort women, in contrast with Germany, which has apologized for the Holocaust. She hoped next month’s event would recast a light on the crimes conducted by the Japanese military.


By Jung Kyung-min, Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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