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AP: Holocaust memorial march in Poland

18-4-2023 |

Thousands of people gathered Tuesday at the former site of Auschwitz for the March of the Living, a yearly Holocaust remembrance march that falls this year on the eve of the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Holocaust survivors and former Auschwitz inmates. Slogan in the background reads: 'Work Sets You Free'.
Foto: AP Photo/Michal Dyjuk

German forces established Auschwitz after they invaded and occupied Poland during World War II, and killed more than 1.1 million people there, most of them Jews but also Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners of war, and others. In all, about 6 million European Jews died during the Holocaust.

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was the largest single act of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust, and remains a potent national symbol for Israel.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella spoke at the event, warning that the ideas of the 1930s were reappearing “at a time when Russia’s inhuman aggression against Ukraine is still raging.” He callled the memory of the Holocaust “an eternal warning that cannot be ignored.”

“Hate, prejudice, racism, extremism, anti-Semitism, indifference, delusion and hunger for power lurk, constantly challenging the consciences of individuals and nations,” said Mattarella, whose nation under dictator Benito Mussolini was allied with Adolf Hitler’s Germany during the war.

The March of the Living, which takes place each year on Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, began at that gate and led to Birkenau, the large camp 3 kilometers away where Jews from across Europe were transported by train and murdered in gas chambers.

Phyllis Greenberg Heideman, the march president, said the young participants would bear the responsibility for carrying forward the memory of the witnesses.

“They will be the voice of those who no longer have voice once they see and understand what happened in the past,” she said.

Source: AP