March of the Living 2015.
(photo credit: MARCH OF THE LIVING WEBSITE)
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.”
Only a few thousand frail and starving prisoners were still alive, he said, calling Auschwitz-Birkenau the largest site of mass murder in the world. He added that all across Europe, the same scene was repeated, with allied troops coming across scores of concentration camps filled with the few who had managed to survive the brutality of the Nazis.
“On this march we insist that never again shall we be silent when innocent people are being slaughtered,” said Rosenman. “Whether they are our brothers and sisters, or members of any other nation, race or religion, never again shall we [be] indifferent to the suffering others. Never again shall we be ‘too late’ in hearing the cry of the downtrodden. And yet we look around the world today and see that our work is not yet done.”
Rosenman said he considers the march and its surrounding events an international educational program, bringing young people and adults from all over the world together to learn about the history of the Holocaust and Jewish life in Poland.
“The participants take the actual steps of the march of death,” explains Rosenman. “The actual route which countless numbers of Nazi victims were forced to take on their way to the gas chambers or other concentration camps. This time, however, there’s a difference. It’s the march of the living – during which participants will affirm that intolerance no longer has a place in our world.”