Due to Corona restrictions the annual march in memory of the victims of the Holocaust is being held this year virtually. (That means you, dear reader, can participate without getting on an airplane!) Israel President Reuven Rivlin, Holocaust survivors, youth and medical teams from Israel and around the world have already been filmed in advance with 3D technology that simulates the route of the actual March of the Living, between Auschwitz and Birkenau, two of the more infamous Nazi concentration camps of World War II.
The March of the Living between the two adjacent Nazi camps is one of the flagship annual events of Holocaust Memorial Day. This year due to the global COVID / Corona situation the march will be held in honor of doctors and nurses in the Holocaust, and will take place in an innovative format. Participants are being videoed and placed digitally along the route between Auschwitz and Birkenau. The marchers in the virtual parade will be lead by President Rivlin. He will be joined by Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon, Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog, JNF Chairman Avraham Duvdevani, and many others.
Among the Holocaust survivors marching in the virtual parade are survivors who suffered Dr. Mengele’s cruel “medical” experiments, including Vera Kriegel Grossman. Also marching are physicians and sons and daughters of physicians in the Holocaust – Dr. Robert Finieli, Prof. Galia Rahav and Idit Matot. All three are children of doctors who went through the Holocaust. Also participating are some who survived thanks to doctors and nurses who saved lives against all odds, including Elka Burstein, who was rescued by a German nurse.
As a tribute to "Angels in White" in the Holocaust, medical teams from Israeli hospitals Soroka, Ichilov, Sheba, Shaare Zedek as well as Magen David Adom (MDA), are taking part in the virtual parade this year. The rescue and aid organizations ZAKA and Ezer Mitzion are also participating, as well as physicians at the forefront in the fight against Corona. Also marching are dozens of doctors and nurses, paramedics and rescue workers, officers and soldiers from the Medical Corps and the Home Front Command. The CEO of Ezer Mitzion, is marching with his mother, Tzipora Freund, a Holocaust survivor.
Dozens of participants around the world have already been videoed using advanced 3D imaging technology as they placed a memorial plaque on the railway track between Auschwitz and Birkenau.
The parade will be broadcast live to the public on Holocaust Memorial Day, April 8, at 3:00 PM Israel Time, followed by a virtual memorial service.
"Three years ago, when I participated in the March of The Living, along with tens of thousands of young and old, Jews and non-Jews, Holocaust survivors alongside IDF soldiers – Primo Levy's immortal words echoed in my mind: 'Make sure your journey is not worthless so that our death will not have been in vain.’" Thus said President Rivlin as he was being videoed in the new format. He will be the first to light the torches at the ceremony that will seal the virtual parade this year. "The march of the living, for me, has never ended and will never end. We all have a duty to work to pass on the memory of the Holocaust to future generations, not to forget, not to let it be forgotten."
Event organizers Dr. Shmuel Rosenman and Phyllis Greenberg added:
”The fact that this is the second year that we will not march [physically in Poland] in the Holocaust Memorial Day march between the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camps – is difficult and unbearable for us. At the same time we will never stop the work of preserving the memory, and this year we have found a unique way to hold a virtual march in a way that brings us as close as possible to the feeling, which cannot be explained in words. We will be in Auschwitz-Birkenau in spirit and soul, and with us millions of people around the world.”
The Chairman of the Jewish Agency, Isaac Herzog:
”The March of the Living connects between hell and victory; a connection between those who heard of the Holocaust firsthand and those who did not… between the generation of Holocaust survivors who are disappearing and the younger generation who have grown up around the world not knowing firsthand the story of the Jewish people and the ‘preying’ of racism and antisemitism. This is our heritage, a struggle in which we will have to take part in all generations, a family war that is passed down from generation to generation.”
As with the digital event of last year, this year the public is invited to take part in the global campaign and upload digital commemorative signs on the website NeverMeansNever.com. These signs will be projected during Holocaust Remembrance Day in Birkenau, and some will even be physically placed on the railway tracks there.
You, dear reader, are invited to read or even write messages to the Holocaust survivors at nevermeansnever.com/plaques/