"We're not coming to learn [about the Holocaust], we're coming to teach," Police Chief Roni Alsheikh said in an interview on Israel Army Radio ahead of the annual March of Living on Thursday.Thousands of tourists from across the globe flooded the Polish city of Krakow ahead of the the 3.2-kilometer march from Auschwitz to Birkenau which marks Holocaust Memorial Day. "We come to Poland to connect to the events that are so hard to understand, but this we do only with our legs," Alsheikh said, arguing that remembrance was only a side-note of the event."The march today, the March of the Living, is in fact an Israeli, national and Zionist statement that we are in a different position," he emphasized. "Coming to Poland in uniform and with an Israeli flag, with the president and other security officials, is very meaningful."
Arguing that the delegation, completely compromised of Holocaust survivors and their families, came to make a statement about what has changed in the 70 years since the foundation of Israel, Alsheikh commented that "The holocaust was carried out by Nazi police officers - and this is a horrifying thing - unifying under one goal, in 1936, to make the horrific act possible.""Our statement is to say that a policeman's job is to provide security, to protect each person, their environment and their community, their freedom and their rights. This is a very important and very emotional statement."Asked about backdrop of the controversial Polish Holocaust Law, the police chief argued that "We are here to make our statement and it stands by itself. It's a statement that expresses what we want to say, and this is meaningful, especially considering the ongoing dialogue that is very hard for us to hear."This year, the March of the Living is led by President Reuven Rivlin, who will be accompanied by the heads of all of Israel’s security forces, among them the police chief.A number of other distinguished guests are due to take part in the march. Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon has brought a delegation of some 50 UN ambassadors, including the envoys of Hungary, Serbia and Tonga.The Chelsea Football Club from London has sent a number of representatives, under its campaign to counter antisemitism, including its Israeli former coach Avram Grant, who is the son of a Holocaust survivor.Among the speakers at the ceremony on Thursday evening will be Rivlin, Duda, Rosenman and Yad Vashem Council chairman Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, a survivor of Buchenwald, who formerly served as Israel’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi and as Tel Aviv’s chief rabbi.Steve Linde contributed to this report.
Israelis stop everything on Menachem Begin St in Tel Aviv as the Holocaust Remembrance Day siren is sounded