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Category : MOTL in the News

Children of the Holocaust return to Auschwitz and pay tribute to those who saved them

The railway tracks lead to the”Death Gate” at the Auschwitz II Birkenau extermination camp. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The Globe and Mail, TU THANH HA, Jan 27, 2014

In the last chaotic days of Nazi Germany, in a train transferring concentration camp prisoners to Dachau, a teenager hears the cries of babies.

At 14, William Glied has already lost his family. Emaciated and shivering with typhoid, he thinks he is delirious, for how could newborns be in such wretched conditions?

And yet, seven babies were born that spring because the Germans spared seven pregnant inmates.

Most survivors think such clemency came because the war was ending and the guards tried to cast themselves in a better light. But Mr. Glied wants to believe it happened because there was a glimmer of decency in the heart of a Nazi.

“I feel that human beings are by nature good, that they’re not evil. If I didn’t believe that, there is not much sense in human existence,” the 84-year-old said from his Toronto home.

Tuesday is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the largest Nazi death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, where more than a million victims died in occupied Poland. (more…)

It’s disrespectful for the Shoah’s victims if all we teach is death

Jewish News Online, By Scott Saunders, January 26, 2015

By Scott Saunders, Founder and Chair of March of the Living UK

How do you understand the un-understandable, explain the inexplicable? Seventy years since the liberation of Auschwitz, we continue to grapple with the lessons of the Holocaust and how we should approach Holocaust education for our children.

In recent years, the Holocaust Educational Trust, the Institute of Education, the Holocaust Education Centre and others have done a remarkable job in developing methodologies to enable non-Jews to learn about the Holocaust in ways that are relevant and meaningful today.

Yet the challenge is no less great when we address our children. How can they be helped to understand the Holocaust within the context of their own identities? How can we address its significance for the Jewish people without making it the defining experience, which it must not be? And as the generation of survivors and first-hand witnesses to the events of the Holocaust pass on, how can we protect the authenticity of education or, more colloquially, “keep it real”?

The answer for many Jewish organisations has been to replace people with places, so that over recent years we have seen an upsurge in the number of Holocaust education ‘experience’ trips to Poland and the death camps. Indeed, for many teenagers and young Jewish adults it has become as much a ‘rite of passage’ as Israel tour. (more…)

Woman born in Auschwitz to attend liberation anniversary

Anglea Orosz and her mother Vera

The Canadian Jewish News, Paul Lungen, January 26, 2015

It’s fair to say that Angela Orosz doesn’t remember much of anything about her time in Auschwitz. After all, she was barely more than one month old when it was liberated on Jan. 27, 1945. Nevertheless, she admits to feeling “terrified” about returning to the Nazi death camp.

Orosz, who turned 70 in December, will join hundreds of other Holocaust survivors, heads of state, political and religious leaders and many more to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the camp by Soviet army forces.

“I didn’t want to go,” Orosz said on the phone from Montreal. “My daughter pushed me. She wants to show what we became. They tried to wipe us out, and now we’re flourishing.” (more…)

Auschwitz-Birkenau: 70 Years After Liberation……A Warning to Future Generations

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.

Parent of March of the Living alumni talks about being the Mom of an IDF soldier

(names have been deleted at the request of the family)
Following are the remarks delivered at a community rally in support of Israel this week.

I’m the mother of a Lone Soldier. The bravest man I know. He’ll be celebrating his 21st birthday next week.

Three years ago he was actively sabotaging his college admissions process. Not the normal kind of slacking off you’d expect from a high school senior – we found out from his guidance councilor that he was doing things that would have kept him from getting into college. He told us that he didn’t want to go right away and that he needed to join the Israeli Army.

He first told us when he was a sophomore in High School, and then again during the summer after his junior year. But I didn’t listen. The follwing year, he participated in the March of the Living travelling to Poland and Israel. Many days, he spent visiting the death camps. Outside Auschwitz, he called me to say that he’d made a promise to G-d. Standing in one of the gas chambers, he vowed that he would do whatever it takes to make sure nothing like this would ever happen again.

The Fall came and so did school. I didn’t have time to think a lot about that conversation—yet it was always in the back of my mind. Until the day we got the call from the guidance counselor. My husband and I realized we had to take him seriously. Our son agreed to apply to college, as a back up plan in case things changed with his Army plan. We were hoping that the excitement of campus weekends and his friends getting into schools would make him change his mind.

The day he got his college acceptance letter, he came to us and said, “OK….I got in, now let’s talk about the Israeli Army.”

Well, I was in Israel this past June to watch him and hundreds of other Paratroopers receive their red berets and wings as they finished their training. I was so proud.

If you’d told me that six weeks later my 20 year old kid would be in a war, going house-to-house in Gaza spending every waking hour searching for – and finding – entrances to terrorist’s tunnels, avoiding booby traps, sleeping in abandoned buildings at night, I never would have believed it. But for the past few weeks, that was his reality as a soldier, and mine as a mother.

Yesterday he returned to his kibbutz and I spoke with him this morning. He reaffirmed his commitment to Israel and his choice of making aliyah. The Galilee he said, “is the most beautiful place on earth, why would I ever leave?”

He is truly very courageous, and he believed that by joining the IDF he would become part of something much greater than himself, something that transcends just this moment in time. And he’s right. He’s idealistic – in a way that only 20 year olds can be.

He’s joined by thousands of other Lone Soldiers and tens of thousands of Israeli kids just as brave and idealistic as he is –kids who have willingly put themselves into harms way for us and putting Klal Yisroel above all else. Not for $240 a month in salary. Not just to defend a small country far away from Boston. For us, the Jewish people.

At age 18, when our son was standing in that death camp and made that vow, he knew that the Israeli Army IS the Jewish Army. And the future of the State of Israel IS the future of all Jews. There is no distance. There is no separation.

The fight of the Jewish people and all those who respect Democracy and Freedom will continue, until the people of Israel are permanently safe and secure from radical Islamic threat and terror.

Wishing for a swift resolution and peace for Klal Israel and Medinat Israel.

As you know, Israel is currently facing tough times. Around the world, friends of Israel are standing together in support of the country, its army and its people.

Please see the short film below produced by March of the Living Hungary:

March of the Living International expresses its condolences to the families of the three kidnapped and murdered Israeli teens – Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-ad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach

At this difficult time, we stand together with the people of Israel, with Jewish communities around the world – and with all people of good faith – to condemn this senseless act of violence and to express our undying commitment to the safety and security of the State of Israel.

המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים

President Obama quotes Pinchas Gutter, Holocaust survivor who participated in the March of the Living, at USC Shoah Foundation Dinner

Remarks by the President at USC Shoah Foundation Dinner

Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel
Los Angeles, California – May 7, 2014

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you so much. Please, please, everybody have a seat.

Well, thank you, Steven, for your incredibly generous words, for this great honor, for your friendship, and most importantly, for the extraordinary work which brings us here all tonight. To Robert Katz and all the members of the board and staff of the Shoah Foundation; to President Max Nikias and everybody at USC; to all the distinguished guests and to all the friends that I see in this audience — it is an incredible honor to be with you as we pay tribute to a remarkable institution and one that makes claim on our moral imagination. (more…)

Righteous Reunion: A Survivor Reunites with his Rescuer

Watch the CBC broadcast

March of the Living Budapest

March of the Living Budapest 30,000+ marching to train station where 600 participants will board train (of the living) to Auschwitz commemorating the 70th anniversary of deportations to the death camps (and the Shoah of Hungarian Jewry), with Irwin Cotler MP.

Earlier, MP Cotler chaired an international parliamentary panel on antisemitism at a special conference of the March of the Living Hungary.