As Noa Kirel, Israel’s Eurovision contestant for 2023, arrived in Liverpool last week to prepare for the song contest where she competes in the first semi-final Tuesday, a global family history platform uncovered that the Israeli pop star's connection to the United Kingdom goes deeper than the singing competition.
According to the global family history site MyHeritage.com: "Most of the members of the Kirel family, which has Austrian roots, were murdered in the Holocaust.
"Just before the gate was closed for Austrian Jews to leave Austria, Noah's grandfather, Alexander Kirel, and his sister Erika Kirel, managed to get permits to leave Vienna. But they each went in separate directions. Noah's grandfather arrived in Palestine alone, when he was 13 years old in 1939.
"His sister Erika - Noa's great-aunt, who was 15 years old, was saved after arriving in the Kindertransport to England in 1939. She was known as Erika Shotland (nee Kirel). She was adopted by a childless couple in Manchester, where she grew up and went on to raise her family in the UK and maintained a close relationship staying in touch with Noa’s grandfather in Israel, Alexander. The rest of their family, apart from one other cousin, perished in the war."
Among their 19 billion digital historical records, MyHeritage’s research team went on to discover application forms filled out by Alexander and Erika’s mother for their exit from Vienna, found as part of an exclusive collection of digitized Jewish emigrant applications from interwar Vienna.
MyHeritage.com was the main sponsor and presenting partner of Eurovision 2019, which was held in Tel Aviv.
Eurovision 2023 in Liverpool
As Kirel flew to Liverpool last Sunday, she told reporters at the airport in Israel, “I have to admit, I never expected to feel this level of excitement. It’s a huge honor to be chosen to represent our country.”
She posted a video on Instagram of herself and her entourage, including Doron Medalie, one of the composers of her song “Unicorn,” along with members of the flight crew, lip-syncing and dancing wildly to the Pointer Sisters’ classic “I’m So Excited.”
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If Kirel nails her performance Tuesday, she will be the final on May 13 and fans hope the power of the “Unicorn” will carry her to the top.
Hannah Brown contributed to this report.