January 27 marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly designated this day as International Holocaust Remembrance Day (IHRD)*, an annual day of commemoration to honour the victims of the Nazi era. *Designated by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 60/7 on 1 […]
A smartphone app makes it possible to view testimony clips from the Visual History Archive that are linked to the new book Witness: Passing the Torch of Holocaust Memory to New Generations.
Witness is inspired by the United Nations’ touring photography exhibit “When You Listen to a Witness, You Become a Witness,” which was organized by the March of the Living. The book includes photographs, firsthand accounts of survivors and reflections from young people as they experience the March of the Living and are impacted by the survivors’ stories.
Readers can download the free smartphone or tablet app Digimarc Discover and scan specially marked photos throughout the book. Scanning these photos unlocks digital content, including clips from the Visual History Archive, which readers can watch on their device.
Witness was compiled by Eli Rubenstein, national director of March of the Living Canada and leader at a Toronto synagogue founded by Holocaust survivors.
TORONTO (JTA) — Fingers flit over a tombstone in Warsaw’s Jewish cemetery, caressing its faded Hebrew letters. Feet stumble on pathways at a Nazi death camp, crooked and strewn with stones. Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead, punctures the sound of rustling leaves and hard rain in rural Poland.
A woman reads aloud, from Braille, the story of the 1,400 Jews from the Polish village of Tykocin who were marched to nearby woods and machine-gunned into mass graves in August 1941. Her voice chokes as her fingers fly across the page.
In the film “Blind Love: A Holocaust Journey Through Poland with Man’s Best Friend,” everything but eyes do the communicating.
Touted as the first documentary about blind people traveling to Poland to learn about the Holocaust, the film follows six Israelis with varying degrees of visual impairment who took part, along with their guide dogs, in the March of the Living, the annual educational trip to the Auschwitz and Majdanek death camps in Poland.
“We as blind people can’t see our surroundings,” explains one participant, “but if we go to certain places, we need to find a trigger to get our imagination going.”
Canadian Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Abella, the first Jewish woman on Canada’s Supreme Court, who was born in a German DP Camp in 1946, eloquently discusses the legacy of her Holocaust survivor parents, and how they affected her life and values, at the JFNA 2015 General Assembly in Washington DC.
Justice Rosalie Abella will join the 2016 March of the Living as well as participate in a symposium on the legacy of the Nuremberg Laws and Trials at Krakow’s Jagelonian University on the day before the March of the Living. Her father, a survivor of the Holocaust, received his law degree from the Jagelonian University before the war, and assisted the Americans with legal work in a DP camp in after the war.
Since 1955, Yad Vashem has worked to fulfill its mandate to preserve the memory of the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust by collecting their names, the ultimate representation of a person’s identity. Millions of victims remain unidentified. Yad Vashem urgently calls upon Jewish communities to recover their names through a worldwide Names Recovery Project. Unless we assume collective responsibility for completing this vital mission, some of them may be lost forever. This is a race against time, before those who remember them are no longer with us.
The March of the Living is sponsored nationally by Jewish Federations of Canada - UIA, and locally by the respective Jewish UJA/CJA Federations. We would like to thank the following individuals, organizations and foundations for their support of the March of the Living program.
Selected Quotes from Past Participants
Israel was an absolutely integral part of the trip for me. After touring the horrors of the Holocaust in Poland, mentally and emotionally I needed to see and experience the rebirth of Jewish culture and identity in Israel. Being in Israel helped to ground the experience, and gave us tangible hope and light after bearing witness to a history of destruction.