British Labor leader Ed Miliband, now visiting Israel, had a 'deeply moving' surprise on Friday, when approached by a man whose mother had shared a shelter with his own relatives in Nazi-occupied Belgium.
The man, Mandel Mandelbaum, came to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem especially to meet Miliband after hearing about the connection the night before, the Daily News reported.
Miliband, the first Jewish leader in British Labor party history, is on his first visit to Israel since assuming the position.
His father and grandfather escaped to England on the last boat leaving Nazi-occupied Belgium in 1940.
But most of his father's family stayed behind in Belgium, and managed to survived Nazi persecution by fleeing to the Walloon village of Montignies-lez-Lens, where they were hidden until the end of the war by a local Catholic family – along with Mandelbaum's aunt and grandmother.
They sheltered 17 members of my family and also sheltered this bloke’s family,'' Miliband said, according to the Daily News. "It shows how this country is bound up with stories of dislocation, refugees, grief and loss."
Miliband's father's immediate family all survived the war, and later reunited in London. But 43 members of his extended family were killed by the Nazis.
After his visit to the university, the Labor leader went to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial. In addition to Jerusalem, Miliband is scheduled to visit Tel Aviv and Sderot, and on Saturday to meet with Palestinian leaders in the West Bank. .
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