Hanukkah - Brandenburg Gate Berlin
Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal (3rd R) lights a giant menorah during a ceremony in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Dec. 20, 2011. Photo by AP
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Some 1,500 Jews attended a candle-lighting ceremony at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate Tuesday night, to commemorate the first of eight nights of Hanukkah, according to the Chabad Movement.

As they stood together singing the Hanukkah hymn “Maoz Tzur”, the Jewish residents, tourists and VIPs of Berlin celebrated the victory of light over darkness, said Chabad, in a country that, less than a century ago, tried to annihilate them.

Built in 1788, the Brandenburg Gate was used by the Nazis as a party symbol. Hours after Hitler’s formal rise to power on January 30, 1933, thousands of uniformed men and women flooded the Brandenburg Gate in a torch-lit rally to applaud the new Nazi era.

“The torch-lit parade marking Hitler’s rise to power 70 years ago, represented the epitome of darkness,” said Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Yehuda Tiechtel, who joined members of the German parliament and U.S. Ambassador Philip D. Murphy at the ceremony.

“Kindling the Hanukkah lights at this very spot represents the absolute triumph of good over evil.”

Chabad stated that among the ceremony attendees were Vice President of the German Parliament Dr. Wolfgang Thierse, Berlin Mayor Michael Müller, and the Israeli, Italian, Mexican and Canadian ambassadors to Germany.

In the U.S. on Tuesday, thousands attended a Chabad-organized a lighting of the National Menorah on the Ellipse, near the White House, with the White House Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew representing the administration at the event.

U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle threw their Hanukkah party at the White House a week and a half ago, but wished U.S. Jews and Israelis and a happy Hanukkah in a special message.

Additional Hanukkah ceremonies took place Tuesday night at various iconic locations throughout the world, including the Champs-Elysees in Paris, and Trafalgar Square in London.