holocaust painting 311.
(photo credit: AP)
The March of the Living will set out from Auschwitz to Birkenau on Monday afternoon as planned, it was announced Sunday. The annual march will take on a muted tone as Poland continues to mourn its president, Lech Kaczynski, who died in a plane crash near Smolensk on Saturday.
On board were Kaczynski and his wife Maria, as well as many top figures in the country’s government, military and judicial system.
Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky and Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau will lead Monday’s procession, which marks 65 years since the end of World War II. 10,000 people from 40 countries will take part in the march, Jews and non-Jews alike. Tennis star Shahar Pe’er, actor Ohad Knoller, Ethiopian-born IDF officer Benzigizi Avraham and Holocaust survivor Sergei Souschon – an oleh from the former USSR – will join the procession.
“Leading the March of the Living is an honor both in the national sense and the personal sense,” said Sharansky. “Growing up, I knew almost nothing about the Holocaust and the resistance [to the Nazis], because the Soviet leadership did all it could to prevent us Jews from cultivating our identity and our memory of the Holocaust.”
This year’s March of the Living will be dedicated to the 1.5 million
children who were murdered in the Holocaust. As in every year, the
march will culminate with a memorial ceremony at Birkenau.
“In a year in which anti-Semitism in the enlightened world has
escalated and our international standing has become unstable, the March
of the Living is to me the most meaningful response,” March of the
Living chairman Dr. Shmuel Rosenman said in a statement released Sunday
morning. “The thousands of participants in the March of the Living,
Jews and non-Jewish, are the answer to all those who choose to forget.”