Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

March of the Living involves youth from around the world


Israeli Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked (third from left), former Chief Rabbi of Israel and Auschwitz survivor Israel Lau Forth from left carrying Torah scroll), Holocaust survivor Ed Mosberg (sixth from left raising Torah Scroll above head) and Director of March of the Living Shmuel Rosenman (second from right) lead the 10,000 participants from 42 countries of the 28th March of the Living from Auschwitz to Birkenau on May 5th.  

KRAKOW, Poland-More than 10,000 young adults from 42 countries participated in the 28th Annual March of the Living through Auschwitz-Birkenau, the world's largest Holocaust commemoration. The March brings together both Jews and non-Jews (40-percent of participants) to mark the annual Yom Hashoah-Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day. Included this year were several UCF students and Hillel staff.

It was the culmination of a week of events, which included visits to the ghettos, monuments and concentration camps. Among them were about 150 Holocaust survivors, world political, judicial, business leaders, members of the Israeli Knesset and the Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked and former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau.

The emotional day was highlighted by the lighting of the torches ceremony in Birkenau, which were lit by the Metropolitan Ignatious Georgakopoulos of Demetrias in the name of Righteous of Among Nations; the Hon. Justice Rosalie Abella, herself born in a displaced persons camp and now a member of Canada's Supreme Court, in the name of the survivors; Edward Mosberg, a survivor from Mountainside, NJ, in memory of the Six Million; Zoe Shir of the USA, Ari Gateno of Panama, Calvin Tenenhouse of Canada, Francisco Hamara of Argentina, Isaak Reuben Sabbhamissod of Morocco and Ilana Neimart of France in the memory of the Children; Alisa Robbins Doctoroff and Steven Greenberg in memory of the other minorities murdered by the Nazis; and Tali Ploskov and Hamad Amir in the name of the State of Israel.

"In Birkenau, another key question-no less painful-arises: where was the world?! Where were the enlightened Western nations when the Nazis started to brutalize the Jews? ... There is no way to go around it-the entire world deserted the Jews. Today, I can say with pride that we are no longer at the mercy of the world, Jewish blood will never be forsaken again," said Shaked.

Those attending the march had an opportunity to meet with the last witnesses of the Holocaust. "To tell them, to educate them: this is the whole thing. That this never ever happens again," said Edward Mosberg, who was accompanied at the march by his young granddaughter.

March of the Living was founded in 1988 to revamp Holocaust education, creating an emotional experience that students could connect with outside of the classroom. All groups are escorted by local tour guides, history experts and holocaust survivors, allowing participants to not only witness the destruction caused by the Holocaust, but to also hear from people who lived through the atrocities committed by the Nazis. Many of the marchers will now continue to Israel to celebrate Israel's Independence Day.

Chairman of March of the Living International Shmuel Rosenman said, "The organization insists on the going to Israel as an integral part of the program that young people undergo. It is very important to send young people back to their community after they have been through the complete tour and have seen how the Jewish people survived the inferno and was able to establish a strong and proud state of their own."

The March of the Living is an annual educational program which brings individuals from all over the world to Poland and Israel in order to study the history of the Holocaust and to examine the roots of prejudice, intolerance and hate. Since the first March of the Living was held in 1988, over 220,000 participants, from 52 countries, have marched down the same 3-kilometer path leading from Auschwitz to Birkenau on Holocaust Remembrance Day-Yom Hashoah-as a silent tribute to all victims of the Holocaust. March of the Living is a unique, historical and innovative partnership between local March of the Living international, local MOTL foundations, the Claims Conference, thousands of individual donors and private philanthropists, and Jewish communities from around the world. Visit http://www.motl.org.


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