Star-Studded Holocaust Benefit Hits NYC
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Star-Studded Holocaust Benefit Hits NYC

Hannah Dreyfus is a staff writer at the New York Jewish Week. She covers abuses of power in non-profit and religious settings. She heads up the Investigative Journalism Fund, an initiative to fill a gap in investigative and enterprise reporting. Reach her at hannah@jewishweek.org

The Indigo Girls booked a new gig — raising awareness about Holocaust survivors.

The American folk rock duo will be performing Saturday night in the East Village at a benefit for Holocaust survivors attended by a dozen Hollywood heavyweights, including “Titanic” star Frances Fisher, four-time Emmy-winner Valerie Harper and “Sex and the City” regular David Eigenberg. “The Stars Come Out For Survivors,” hosted by the Survivor Mitzvah Project, a nonprofit that aids survivors in Eastern Europe, will take place at Webster Hall.

“The floodgates have opened — we need to help the last survivors of the unluckiest generation,” said Zane Buzby, founder of the Survivor Mitzvah Project.

For Buzby, a noted television comedy director best known for the sitcom “Golden Girls,” bringing together stars and survivors is a “dramatic turn.”

“Most of these celebrities are known for their work in comedy — now, they are turning out to showcase a completely different side of their personality,” she said.

She was able to book the Indigo Girls because of their “history of activism,” said Buzby. The singers, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, both identify as lesbian and are active in political and environmental causes.

Buzby started the organization in 2004 after a 10-day trip to Lithuania and Belarus left her moved and inspired.

“I went looking for my grandparents’ villages and left with the stories of eight elderly Holocaust survivors,” said Buzby. While there, she aided in bringing food, medicine and money to these survivors. “There is no shortage of Holocaust memorials and museums, but I realized what was missing was support for these elderly individuals, many of them sick and alone,” she said.

Today, the Survivor Mitzvah Project helps more than 2,000 elderly survivors in eight Eastern European countries. Aside from helping survivors monetarily, the project encourages them to share their stories.

The benefit taking place this weekend commemorates the anniversary of Victory Day, the 1945 surrender of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union.

For the celebrities involved, the crowning moment of the benefit, Buzby said, is reading letters from survivors. She read from one, from an elderly survivor named Dora. “‘Desolate and lonely, you brought me joy,’” she read. “‘Thank you, faraway friend.’”

Tickets start at $60 and the link to purchase is websterhall.com/survivors
Doors Openat 7 P.M.

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