Thousands take part in March of the Living at Auschwitz

President Peres, former chief Rabbi, Conference of Presidents head, thousands of participants gather at concentration camp in Poland.

By GIL STERN STERN SHEFLER
May 2, 2011 18:48
1 minute read.
March of the Living at Auschwitz

March of the Living at Auschwitz 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Peter Andrews)

 
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Tens of thousands of people on Monday took part in the March of the Living, the annual rally held at the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland honoring the six millions Jews murdered by the Nazis and their allies during the Holocaust.

Participants included President Shimon Peres, former Israeli Chief Rabbi Meir Lau, Conference of Presidents head Malcolm Hoenlein and thousands of Jewish and non-Jewish youth from Israel and around the world.

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“This year the March of the Living will take place as we mark 50 years since the trial of Adolph Eichmann, which is important in the history of Holocaust awareness in Israel and the world,” said Dr. Shmuel Rosenman, who heads the March of the Living organization. “Our calendars are full of memorial days of which Holocaust Remembrance Day is the centerpiece. Our goal is that the March of the Living reminds Jews and non-Jews of what the Holocaust has done to the Jewish people and the entire world.

“Thousands of youths visiting Poland are accompanied by those spared of the fires – Holocaust survivors who know firsthand of the importance to remember.”

The ceremony was emceed by Haim Topol, who played the lead role of Tevye the Milkman in the movie version of the musical Fiddler on the Roof.

For Topol, whose mother’s family was murdered at Auschwitz, visiting the former concentration camp takes an emotional toll, he told Army Radio on Monday. He said that he would not have agreed to emcee this year’s event if it weren’t for his grandchildren and the awareness of the importance of the event.

“I looked at my grandchildren and told them that I’ll go if they agree to go with me – it’s worth it,” he was quoted as saying. “I want them to know how such things came to be. My mother’s family was murdered here, and my father’s in Treblinka. They were the sole survivors of their families who made aliya.”

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