On January 27, 2015, the world will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The 70th anniversary ceremonies taking place in Auschwitz-Birkenau are expected to draw dozens of foreign dignitaries, heads of state and royalty, including President François Hollande of France, President Joachim Gauck of Germany, President Heinz Fischer of Austria, King Philippe of Belgium, King Willem-Alexander of Holland & Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.
More than 3,000 guests will be in attendance, including about 300 survivors of the camps, several of whom will speak during the ceremony, along with 80 March of the Living alumni from Europe. This will likely be the last time when a sizeable group of Auschwitz survivors will be able to personally attend a significant anniversary marking the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The event is being organized by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, the USC Shoah Foundation & The World Jewish Congress.
Please take a few minutes to watch: “Auschwitz-Birkenau: 70 Years After Liberation……A Warning to Future Generations”. In this video, five survivors who frequently accompany students to Auschwitz-Birkenau on the March of the Living, along with a number of March of the Living leaders and students, reflect on the meaning of the 70th anniversary and on the educational importance of Auschwitz-Birkenau to future generations.
Raoul Wallenberg rescued more Jews than any other single individual during the Holocaust. He vanished on January 17, 1945 after being apprehended by Soviet authorities. January 17th, 1945 marks the 70th anniversary of his tragic and never explained disappearance.
March of the Living, with the help of the Azrieli Foundation, produced a very moving short piece on his life and legacy, featuring Holocaust survivor Eva Meisels, human rights advocate Irwin Cotler & Joe Kertes, Second Generation Wallenberg survivor.
As we approach this tragic anniversary, in honor of his heroic legacy, please take a few moments to watch:
Today, Friday, November 7th marks 70 years since the execution of the poet Hannah Senesh by the Nazis during WWII.
Senesh, a member of the British Army, was one of 37 Jews from Palestine to parachute into Yugoslavia during WWII to assist in the rescue of Hungarian Jews. Senesh was captured at the Hungarian border, imprisoned, tortured and ultimately executed on Nov. 7, 1944. During her time as a captured prisoner in her native Budapest, she refused to provide details of her mission. Senesh is regarded as one of the greatest heroines in Jewish history.
If you do nothing else today, please watch this moving 4 minute music video on the heroism and courage of Hannah Senesh. The video is a well known song written by Senesh – Eli, Eli – performed by acclaimed Canadian jazz vocalist and Juno-winner Sophie Milman.
This 15 minute video tells the story of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising through the voices of the survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Two Canadian fighters – Anna Heilman (of Ottawa) & Baruch Spiegel (of Montreal)- appear in the film. Both took part in the heroic uprising and their testimony in the film is quite eloquent.
The song was written and performed by Vadim Drezyin a participant in the 1988 March of the Living. The chorus of the song, “to live with honour and to die with honour…” was taken from the last letter of Emmanuel Ringleblum, the famous Jewish historian of the Warsaw Ghetto. He observed in these last words, that the spirit of those who resisted the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto, was to “live with honour and die with honour.
Ringleblum was murdered a week after he wrote those words.
January 27, 2013 – International Holocaust Remembrance Day Marking the 68th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz
On January 27, 1945, Soviet forces liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, discovering the largest Nazi killing center in Europe. Auschwitz has become a symbol of the Holocaust, representing the depths of man’s inhumanity to man. Eighteen governments have legislated January 27 as an annual Holocaust Memorial Day. In November 2005, the United Nations passed a resolution to mark January 27 as an international day of commemoration to honor the victims of the Holocaust, and urged member states to develop educational programs to impart the memory of this tragedy to future generations. Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremonies will be organized on the international, national, regional and local levels, including in universities and schools.
JTA, Feb 26, 2015 MONTREAL (JTA) — Envelopes on the windshields of at least one of four vandalized cars in [...]
Yad Vashem Name Recovery Project
Since 1955, Yad Vashem has worked to fulfill its mandate to preserve the memory of the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust by collecting their names, the ultimate representation of a person’s identity. Millions of victims remain unidentified. Yad Vashem urgently calls upon Jewish communities to recover their names through a worldwide Names Recovery Project. Unless we assume collective responsibility for completing this vital mission, some of them may be lost forever. This is a race against time, before those who remember them are no longer with us.
I loved this program and am very happy I participated. I would like to visit Poland some day to explore more about the Jewish community that existed before the war. I knew that I would feel bereft at the camps, etc, but I was surprised that I felt such sorrow at the loss of the more intangible aspects of Jewish life including community. That has really haunted me and I keep thinking as I always have about individual lives lost, what our communities would look like today if the Holocaust had never happened.
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