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December 30, 2021 2:53 pm
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Holocaust Survivor Gets Thousands of Cards for 98th Birthday After Great-Grandson’s Online Appeal

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Holocaust survivor Lily Ebert. Photo: Matti Zoman

A Holocaust survivor received thousands of cards and messages for her 98th birthday on Thursday, after her great-grandson rallied social media users to surprise her on the joyous occasion.

“I never expected to survive Auschwitz,” said Lily Ebert, a native of Bonyhád, Hungary, who now lives in London. “Now, at 98, I celebrate surrounded by my family – the Nazis did not win!”

Earlier this year, Ebert started a TikTok account with her 18-year-old great-grandson, Dov Forman, in order to educate the public about the Holocaust. Ahead of Ebert’s 98th birthday, Forman asked the pair’s thousands of social media followers to surprise his great-grandmother by sending her birthday cards. Forman shared Ebert’s mailing address, and she ended up receiving more than 2,500 birthday cards from around the world, including from British Secretary of State for Education Nadhim Zahawi, TikTok, and the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum.

Forman told the Daily Mail, “It is so humbling to see so many people, from all over the world, respond to my request to surprise Lily for her birthday!”

“My great-grandmother has not just survived Auschwitz and the Holocaust; she has built a large and loving family with three children, 10 grandchildren and 34 great-grandchildren who all love her very much,” he added. “Lily’s 98th birthday, which is now being celebrated together with millions online, is another of life’s affirmations — the Nazis, and the prejudice and hatred that they stood for, didn’t win.”

Born in December 1923, Ebert was on one of the last trains that transported Hungarian Jews to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in 1944. She was later transferred to a slave labor factory in Altenberg, Germany. Her memoir, “Lily’s Promise: How I Survived Auschwitz and Found the Strength to Live,” was published in September with a foreword by Prince Charles.

Forman also used social media in August to track down and unite Ebert with the family of a Jewish-American soldier who, when she was liberated in 1945, gave her a banknote on which he wrote, “Good luck and happiness.”

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