On May 5th 2016, over 10,000 young adults from over 40 countries around the world, will gather in Poland for the world’s largest Holocaust Commemoration, the 28th Annual March of the Living.
The March of the Living is an annual educational program which brings individuals from all over the world to Poland and Israel in order to study the history of the Holocaust and to examine the roots of prejudice, intolerance and hate. Since the first March of the Living was held in 1988, over 220,000 participants, from 52 countries, have marched down the same 3-kilometer path leading from Auschwitz to Birkenau on Holocaust Remembrance Day - Yom Hashoah - as a silent tribute to all victims of the Holocaust. . All groups are escorted by local tour guides, history experts and holocaust survivors, allowing participants to not only witness the destruction caused by the Holocaust, but to also hear from people who lived through the atrocities committed by the Nazis.
The participants will include both Jews and non-Jews who will visit the ghettos, monuments and camps of the Holocaust in a tour that culminates in the actual march through Auschwitz-Birkenau and the ensuing emotional ceremony to mark Yom Hashoah. Many of the marchers will continue to Israel to celebrate Israel’s Independence Day in the country.
Each year, delegations from around the world, made up mostly of teenagers and youth, arrive in Poland to begin their educational experience. This year’s participants will include groups from the U.S., Canada, Britain, France, Morocco, Australia and Japan, among others. The comprehensive journey takes participants through the city of Warsaw and to surviving synagogues across the countryside to paint a picture of the vibrant Jewish life in Poland before the war. The participants then walk through the cemeteries and Ghettos of Warsaw and Krakow to hear the stories of the unnerving first stages of the Holocaust. The delegations also visit the terrible death camps, including the final day where they retrace the ‘death march’ from the railways to the horrific gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau. There, all the groups will unite for a solemn commemoration ceremony – a symbol of unity and strength in the face of the tragedies and destruction of the past.
“We expect this year’s March to educate and inspire more youth who will return to their communities as leaders and activists.” said Dr. Rosenman, the Chairman of March of the Living.
In addition, this year March of the Living International will join with the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights to mark the 80th anniversary of the implementation of the Nuremberg Laws and the 70th anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials with a special gathering of leading international jurists, distinguished legal scholars and political leaders from around the world at Jagiellonian University in Krakow on May 4th. The conference will bring together some of the world’s preeminent legal experts and presiding justices to discuss the historical significance of the Nuremberg Laws and Trials, and address the lessons learned and action to be taken to prevent genocides and combat atrocities in our time.