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April 26, 2022 1:40 pm
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March of the Living Invites Family of Victims of Antisemitic Attacks in Pittsburgh, Mumbai, Toulouse

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

The sign “Arbeit macht frei” (Work makes you free) is pictured at the main gate of the former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz in Oswiecim January 19, 2015. REUTERS/Pawel Ulatowski

Jews who faced antisemitism or who lost family members in antisemitic attacks around the world will join this year’s International March of the Living in Poland, set for April 28 to coincide with Yom HaShoah, Israel’s Holocaust memorial day.

The Jewish Agency’s delegation will include Jews from the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Turkey, India and Argentina, as well as global law enforcement officials who work on tackling hate crimes, it was announced on Tuesday. The delegation will be headed by Michael Siegel, Chairman of the board of trustees of the Jewish Agency.

“It is a solemn honor to bear witness to the horrors of the past, together with a group of brave Jewish sisters and brothers from around the world who have personally born the wrath of today’s antisemitism,” said Siegel. “The Jewish Agency for Israel stands here in support of the March of the Living’s mission to honor the victims of the past, while encouraging the world to remain vigilant on behalf of the victims of the future.”

Planned participants in the march include Howard Feinberg, whose mother was killed in the 2018 shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh; Goldie and Orly Orta Shama and Avi Orpaz, whose family members were killed in a terrorist attack on the Mumbai Chabad House in 2008; Adi Damari, whose mother was killed and father badly injured in a suicide bombing in Turkey in 2016; Miri Koren Ben Zeev, whose husband was killed in the 1992 Israeli embassy bombing in Argentina; Lasry Pierre, whose daughter survived an attack on a Jewish school in France in 2012; and Margaryta Paliy from Germany and Sarah Taieb Danan from the UK, who were targeted with antisemitism for wearing Jewish symbols and protesting Nazi symbols.

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Paliy said Tuesday she is dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust because “looking back and remembering the past is an essential component in the fight against antisemitism and all forms of racism in our society today.”

Danan added, “My grandfather, a Holocaust survivor, always said that his grandchildren were his victory, and I am moved and proud to participate in the March of the Living.”

The delegation’s three-day program in Poland, from April 26-28, will start with a visit to emergency centers in Warsaw to meet Jewish refugees who fled Ukraine after the Russian invasion and are preparing to immigrate to Israel. The delegation will then visit Nazi concentration camps in Poland and meet with senior European police officers from Belgium, Germany and the UK as part of a partnership with the Miller Center at Rutgers University, which works to combat hate crimes.

“We have recently witnessed an alarming rise in antisemitism around the world, with more incidents of physical harm, and more hate speech on social networks,” said Yaakov Hagoel, chairman of the World Zionist Organization and acting chairman of the Jewish Agency. “This journey with March of the Living stands to remind the world what hatred leads to. When saying ‘Never Again,’ it means showing zero tolerance for antisemitism.”

The March of the Living returns in-person this year after two years of virtual events due to COVID-19 pandemic. A smaller delegation will take part in the upcoming march, due to the conflict in Ukraine, and will be led by only eight Holocaust survivors.

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