The March is returning in person after two years of virtual events marking the date, due to COVID.
Polish President Andrzej Duda is joining this year’s historic March of the Living at the site of the Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, on Thursday.
The annual Holocaust memorial event, which is returning in person for the first time following two years absence due to the global pandemic, will see thousands of participants from around the world march the 3.2km from Auschwitz to Birkenau in memory of the six million Jewish victims of the Nazis, with a message of unity in the face of antisemitism, hatred, racism and bigotry of all forms.
President Duda will accompany Holocaust survivors – many of whom may be marching for the last time. 3,000 participants from over 25 countries; as well as a delegation of war refugees from Ukraine, will participate.
International March of the Living President, Phyllis Greenberg Heideman, and Chairman, Dr. Shmuel Rosenman, said: “We are honored by President Duda’s participation in this historic March. With the shadow of war once again hanging over Europe, and Poland hosting millions of refugees from the ongoing war, President Duda’s participation pays tribute to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and will serve as a clear statement against the dangers of antisemitism, hatred, racism and intolerance.”
Jewish Agency delegation includes Jews victims of antisemitic attacks
The Jewish Agency’ delegation tot he March of the Living will consist of Jews who were targeted or lost loved ones in antisemitic attacks in the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Turkey, India and Argentina. They will be ccompanied by senior police officers from around the world involved in combatting hate crimes.
Chairman of the World Zionist Organization and Acting Chairman of the Jewish Agency Yaakov Hagoel said: “This journey with March of the Living stands to remind the world what hatred leads to. When saying “Never Again”, it means showing zero tolerance for antisemitism”.
The International March of the Living marks Yom HaShoa, Israel’s national Holocaust Martyrs ‘and Heroes’ Remembrance Day.
This year, the March takes place in a limited format due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and will be led by only eight Holocaust survivors, who have marched with the March for many years.
Among the participants in the world delegation: Howard Feinberg, whose mother Joyce Feinberg was killed in the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018; Goldie and Orly Orta Shama, whose mother Norma Schwarzblatt Rabinovich, was killed in the attack on the Chabad House in Mumbai; Avi Orpaz, whose mother Yocheved was also killed in the attack in Mumbai in 2008; Adi Damari, who lost her mother Simcha in a suicide bombing in Turkey in 2016, in which her father was also seriously injured; Miri Koren Ben Zeev, whose husband was killed in the 1992 attack on the Jewish community building in Argentina; Lasry Pierre, whose daughter survived the attack on the Or HaTorah school in Toulouse in 2012; Margaryta Paliy from Germany and Sarah Taieb Danan from the UK, who were targeted for wearing Jewish symbols, and protesting Nazi symbols.
Ahead of the visit, Lasry Pierre, who was chairman of the Parents’ Committee at the time of the attack on the Ozar Hatora school in Toulouse, said, “After the horrific massacre at our school in Toulouse, I see and hear differently the story of Holocaust survivors – stories I have been collecting for many years. The March of the Living helps us give a voice to the memory of the Jewish children.”
Margaryta Paliy said that as a young woman, in the third generation since the Holocaust, she was greatly commitment to preserving the memory of the Holocaust. “Looking back and remembering the past is an essential component in the fight against antisemitism and all forms of racism in our society today.”
Sarah Taieb Danan said that “My grandfather, a Holocaust survivor, always said that his grandchildren were his victory, and I am moved and proud to participate in the March of the Living”.
The Jewish Agency’s delegation to the March of the Living is intended to raise awareness of the fight against antisemitism and to promote efforts to pass on the memory of the Holocaust to future generations.
Thousands of Jewish Agency missionaries working in Jewish communities around the world are at the forefront of the fight against antisemitism and the commemoration of the Holocaust. Many of the participants in the delegation of victims of antisemitism received assistance from the Jewish Agency’s Foundation for Victims of Terrorism, which assists victims of hostilities in Israel and supports Israelis who have been victims of anti-Semitic attacks abroad.
The delegation will participate in a unique three-day program in Poland (April 26-28, 2022) that is set to begin with a visit to the emergency centers operated by the Jewish Agency in Warsaw, where they will meet with Jewish refugees who fled the war in Ukraine and are planning to immigrate to Israel.
The delegation will visit Nazi labor and extermination camps in Poland, and hold a meeting in Krakow with senior European police representatives, as part of a collaboration with the Miller Center at Rutgers University, which works extensively to combat hate crimes. The center connected senior police officers from Belgium, Germany and the UK, to meet with this unique delegation of victims of antisemitism.
Yaakov Hagoel noted, “We have recently witnessed an alarming rise in antisemitism around the world, with more incidents of physical harm, and more hate speech on social networks. This journey with March of the Living stands to remind the world what hatred leads to. When saying “Never Again”, it means showing zero tolerance for antisemitism”.