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Category : MOTL in the News

March of Living makes impact on teens

Genia Kutner, 86, of Delray Beach, was among eight survivors with 118 teens on the recent March of the Living — Southern Region Holocaust educational trip. Kutner befriended Mike Lazarus and Amanda Shore, both 18 and from Boca. (Submitted photo)

South Florida Sun-Sentinel, By Randall P. Lieberman, May 18, 2015

Daniella Cohen — a senior at Weinbaum Yeshiva High School in Boca Raton — was affected deeply by what she saw on the recent March of the Living — Southern Region Holocaust educational trip to Poland and Israel that she went on.

Cohen wrote the following in an article in the “Yeshiva Highlites,” a school online newsletter: “No matter how many pictures I have seen, movies I have watched, or stories I have heard, there is nothing comparable to actually being at those horrifying sites. The experience was all the more powerful for me because my great-grandparents were Holocaust survivors. Standing near the crematoria at Birkenau and listening to the esteemed Rabbi Lau tell his unbelievable tale of survival at the March of the Living ceremony, I could picture the incidents of brutal torture or miraculous escape in my own ancestors’ history.”

Every year, more than 10,000 students from all over the world travel to Poland to take the March — a 3-kilometer (1.86-mile) walk from the Auschwitz concentration camp to the Birkenau concentration camp on Yom HaShoah (“Holocaust Remembrance Day”). The March is thought of as a tribute to all the victims of the Holocaust, many of whom followed that very same route on Nazi death marches.

After spending a week in Poland visiting spots of Nazi Germany’s persecution and former sites of Jewish life and culture, many March participants also then travel to Israel the next week to cap the trip. (more…)

2015 March of the Living Ceremony – Auschwitz-Birkenau – Holocaust Remembrance Day

March of the Living Survivor Testifies at Trial of Accused Nazi War Criminal Oskar Gröning

Watch an interview with Bill Glied on CTV News Channel: http://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=596783

March of the Living 2015

JWire

70 years after the end of the Second World War 11,000 participants, both Jews and non-Jews, joined the 27th March of the Living from Auschwitz to Birkenau.

Coming from over 45 countries, they took part in the annual march from the gates of Auschwitz to a commemoration ceremony at Birkenau following a week’s preparation in Poland during which they learned the universal lessons of the Holocaust including the importance of fighting hatred, intolerance, racism and fascism. To date over 220,000 young people have taken part in the March of the Living since 1988.

This year saw delegations from, among others, the United States, Canada, UK, Mexico, Panama, Greece, Australia, Morocco, France, Austria, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa with each delegation accompanied by a Holocaust survivor who tell their personal story. The March of he Living was attended this year by the Minister of Education and Women’s Affairs of Austria, Gabriele Heinisch-Hosek, and the Ambassador of the United States to the United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador Keith Harper, who lit two of the six torches at the end of the ceremony.

The march was opened by the sound of the Shofar and Dr. Shmuel Rosenman, Chairman of the March of the Living, who said, “Let us march against intolerance, against hate and for a better future for all humanity.” (more…)

Blind Israelis march from Auschwitz and Birkenau with their guide dogs

Jerusalem Post

A 28-minute documentary film, “Blind Love,” recounts a trip in 2013 to Poland of a delegation of six blind Israelis who lead the viewer on a different kind of journey.

It was in the Majdanek Concentration Camp that Liron Artzi, a 30-year-old blind attorney from Tel Aviv, lost control and broke down in tears.

She was touring Jewish sites in Poland with a group of six blind Israelis and their guide dogs to take part in the annual March of the Living.

The cold sliced right through her coat. The tour guide’s description of the scene – a large room with rows of exposed water pipes and shower heads on the ceiling, adjacent to the Majdanek gas chambers – sliced through her heart.

The tears ran down Artzi’s face and would not stop. From a place of profound grief she cried silently without uttering a sound. Partially hidden by a dark hood against the bitter cold, her face froze in a grimace that bared her teeth and could have been mistaken for a smile were it not for the persistent flow of tears.

She reached down for her guide dog, Petel, a Labrador mixed with Golden Retriever, who with keen canine intuition recognized her need for comfort. Petel responded by licking Artzi’s tears, the warm, coarse tongue sweeping Artzi’s face, her nose red from the cold and her open, sightless eyes.

The moment was captured in a 28-minute documentary film, “Blind Love,” recounting the trip in 2013 to Poland of a delegation of six blind Israelis who lead the viewer on a different kind of journey. In the Jewish cemetery in Warsaw, a blind woman touches an old gravestone carved lovingly many years before. Her hands caress every crevice, each Hebrew letter, reading the stone with her fingertips as if it were a page of Braille. It makes one think of the last time someone touched that marker, when the Jewish dead in Warsaw had living relatives to visit their graves.

(more…)

Participants from around the world look back at what the March of the Living means for them

Jerusalem Post

The most transformative moments of my trip were those spent with people who endured the horrors of the Holocaust. The survivors’ passion and drive were unlike those I’ve ever encountered in any other human beings…Without the slightest sign of fatigue, they shared with us deeply personal stories with universal implications about human suffering, perseverance, and heroism.

One moment… left a particularly lasting impression on me, took place at the closing ceremony in Birkenau. Against the backdrop of barbed wire fences and ruins of crematoria, the survivors were getting ready to light the candles for Kaddish. Each stepped forward and read out the names of his or her family members who perished at the hands of the Nazis. One woman approached the microphone but was unable to speak. She stood in front of us and cried. Another survivor came up to her and said, “Wait, don’t cry. Look! Look at them! They are here for you!” She was right. “I looked around me and I realized that with me were hundreds of young people who wanted to learn, who wanted to remember, who wanted to prevent things like this from happening in the future.

I gained hope by listening to them and by sharing with them my own fears and insecurities. I came to realize that this is the only route to hope. We must listen; we must welcome opportunities to become exposed to other cultures and to other peoples; and we must educate each other. Hope can only be realized through mutual understanding.

Only through such an understanding can we promote knowledge and diminish hatred. And then, maybe, just maybe, will we be able to say “never again.”

Bart Bonikowski – Poland (more…)

Chief Rabbi Lau: ‘Even if you want, you won’t forget’ the Holocaust

Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau stands at the gates of Auschwitz.. (photo credit:REUTERS/MICHAL LEPECKI)

Jerusalem Post, by David Stromberg

Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau explains why he participates every year in the March of the Living and what it means to remember and not forget.

Twenty seven years ago former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, himself a survivor of the Buchenwald concentration camp, was asked to lead the first March of the Living – a three-kilometer walk from the extermination camps of Auschwitz to Birkenau, ending with a memorial ceremony in front of barracks bombed during the Second World War. The impetus for the march was to make a statement of presence in the very spot where an attempt was made to annihilate the Jewish people.

“We wanted to emphasize: ‘We’re here,’” says Lau. “On the route that our forebears walked as the march of death – we wanted to walk the march of life.”

Lau was asked to lead the ceremony in three languages – Hebrew as the language of the State of Israel, English as the international language, and Yiddish in memory of the dead as well as for the survivors who still spoke the language. Along with him were then Education and Culture Minister Yitzhak Navon and seven MK’s who were also themselves Holocaust survivors, including Dov Shilansky and Shevah Weiss. (more…)

Thousands march at Auschwitz to remember the Holocaust

Teens participating in the 27th annual March of the Living, April 16, 2015. (Yossi Zeliger/March of the Living)

JTA and Times of Israel, April 16, 2015

JTA) — Thousands of young people from at least 45 countries participated in the March of the Living in Poland at the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex of concentration camps.

The 27th International March of the Living took place Thursday on Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. Each country’s delegation was accompanied by a survivor to tell his or her personal story.

Yad Vashem chairman Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, the chief rabbi of Tel Aviv-Yaffo and former Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, led the two-mile march from the Auschwitz concentration camp to the Birkenau extermination camp. Lau told the participants how he survived the Holocaust, and he showed a Torah scroll that had survived and required extensive repair.

Survivor Sigmund Rolat recalled his Polish nanny, Elka, who remained with him in the Czestochowa ghetto in order to protect him. (more…)

Remembering the past, facing the future

Phyllis Greenberg Heideman at the March of the Living. (photo credit:Courtesy)

Jerusalem Post, by Phyllis Greenberg Heideman

As I reflect on my first March of the Living, I recall the eerie sensation of slowly walking into Auschwitz and timidly passing under the sign Arbeit Macht Frei… followed by the overwhelming sensation of walking back out. Back and forth I moved in and out of the most infamous of all concentration camps. Freely and defiantly, unlike my ancestors.

With each of the six million lives so brutally taken from the Jewish People during the Holocaust on my mind and in my heart, I think “Hineni… I am here.” I have come to remember you. And I am only one of many who have traveled from far and near to remember the past as together we face the future.

Each year, as I walk among the thousands of March of the Living participants, I remember that first visit and I become increasingly aware of the importance of this journey on the lives of those who touch that soil, who walk those paths and who come to understand the relevance of that time in history to their lives today. (more…)

Thousands walk from Auschwitz to Birkenau in March of the Living

March of the Living 2015. (photo credit:MARCH OF THE LIVING WEBSITE)

Jerusalem Post

Each year, marchers commemorate more than a million people – the vast majority of them Jewish men, women, and children – who were murdered in the death camp.

Thousands of people were walked from the Auschwitz to Birkenau in Poland on Thursday as part of the annual March of the Living on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Each year, marchers commemorate more than a million people – the vast majority of them Jewish men, women, and children – who were murdered in the death camp.

This year, the program included some 10,000 students and adults, Jews and non-Jews, from more than 40 countries. It also commemorated the 70th anniversary to the end of the Second World War.

“Seventy years ago, Soviet troops liberated Auschwitz,” said Dr. Shmuel Rosenman, who has served as chairman for the March of the Living since 1988. “But for most of this camp’s inmates, they were too late.” (more…)