While March of the Living will not take place this year in Poland, due to the covid-19 pandemic, virtual programs and a global campaign are already activating the Jewish world and beyond.
One of the most moving aspects of the March of the Living is the opportunity for participants to memorial plaques with personal messages on the train tracks at Birkenau. The public is invited to participate and have their personal message virtually placed against the backdrop of the infamous train tracks at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. Individual plaques and messages can be placed via a dedicated minisite https://nevermeansnever.com
In 2020 over 18,000 people from more than 70 countries took part in this meaningful campaign. This year Jewish world leader already sent their messages, among them Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, who has been in every single march since it's inception, Chairs of the Jewish Agency and KKL, Chair of Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center Natan Sharansky, Elie Horn, a Jewish philanthropist from Brazil and many others.
"The fact that this is the second year that we will not march in the March of the Living on Holocaust Remembrance Day at the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camps is difficult," said March of the Living World Chair, Dr. Shmuel Rosenman and March of the Living President, Phyllis Greenberg Heideman. “However, will never stop the work of remembrance. We will be in Auschwitz-Birkenau in spirit and soul, and we will be joined by millions of people around the world through our virtual programming.”
Jewish Agency Chair Isaac Herzog: “The ‘March of the Living’ connects between those who learned about the Holocaust firsthand and those who did not; between the generation of survivors that is disappearing, and the younger generation that grew up around the world not knowing firsthand the story of the Holocaust and the struggle of the Jewish people as well as the predatory powers of racism and antisemitism.”
Avraham Duvdevani, KKl Chair: "KKL remembers the 6 million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust all year long, and we commemorate them in all KKL sites throughout Israel".
Syrian born Elie Horn migrated to Brazil in 1955 and work tirelessly to ensure and strengthen the Jewish identity and belonging of hundreds of thousands of Jewish youth from around the globe. His wife, Suzie, lost many of her family in the Holocaust and for Elie, collective memory, education, Jewish identity and belonging is crucial to ensure the long term of the Jewish people.
Human rights icon and Chair of the supervisory board of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center (BYHMC) reflects on the 80th anniversary to the Babyn Yar massacre, in which in just 48 hours, almost the entire population of Kyiv Jewish population was shot to dead at Babyn Yar ravine.
Sacha Roytman Dratwa, CEO of the Combat Antisemitism Movement reflects on his family murdered in the Shoah: "I lost two great-grandfathers in Auschwitz-Birkenau all my life I’ll make sure their memory will never be forgotten. Fighting anti-Semitism means understanding where it can lead. We must never stop educating about the horrors of the Holocaust and preserving the memory of those who perished. As anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial continue to grow, now more than ever “Never Means Never.”