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April 3, 2022 2:29 pm

‘March of the Living’ Resumes After 2-Year Hiatus: ‘Almost the Last Opportunity to March With Holocaust Survivors’

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Participants attend the annual “March of the Living” to commemorate the Holocaust at the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz, in Brzezinka near Oswiecim, Poland, May 2, 2019. Reuters/Kacper Pempel/File Photo

The International March of the Living will resume its annual pilgrimage to the remains of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps in Poland this month following a two-year hiatus, with organizers calling it “almost the last opportunity to march alongside Holocaust survivors.”

Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, which borders Poland, the march will be limited in scope, organizers said. Only around 2,000 people will attend.

It will take place on April 28 to coincide with Yom HaShoah, Israel’s official Holocaust memorial day.

“In the last few years, the International March of the Living and the world as a whole have lost many Holocaust survivors,” the organization’s leadership said in a statement. “This is almost the last opportunity to march alongside Holocaust survivors. It is our responsibility to carry the torch of their memory even in the face of the tragic ongoing war in Ukraine.”

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Eve Kugler, a survivor who will participate in the march, also warned of the dwindling number of living witnesses to the Holocaust.

“We survivors are becoming an increasingly rare breed,” she said. “And this should worry you more than it worries me. It should worry you because hatred of Jewish people and Holocaust denial are still prevalent.”

“If this is how the memory of the Holocaust is treated — or dare I say abused — when those who suffered it are still here to tell our story … then how much worse will it be when the survivors are no more than a distant memory?” Kugler asked.

Eitan Neishlos, the grandson of Holocaust survivor Tamar Zisserman, emphasized the responsibility of youth to carry on the memory of the Holocaust and its survivors.

“Out of great respect to those who perished, and tremendous esteem for the survivors, today the responsibility is passed to members of the third generation,” he said. “From now on, we will preserve their memory and demand of ourselves that ‘Never Means Never.’ This duty is not a burden, it is a privilege.”

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