2013 March of the Living Follow Up Survey: Selected Comments

1.    It brought the past into the present.

2.    It is such an honour and privilege to have had some of the survivors with us on the trip.  It brings it closer to home; their stories are so important and the kids identify with them.

3.  It was very emotional hearing the stories of all the survivors and knowing that these stories happened in the same places we were visiting.

4.    The group talks at the end of the day were really helpful and effective because we were able to speak and share what was on our minds. Hearing from Holocaust survivors is extremely touching and I can’t imagine us going on the trip without them.

5.    Unfortunately, our MOL will be one of the last MOL trips to be fortunate enough to have survivors travel with us. It was incredible to have these heroes recount their stories in similar, or exact, places that they actually happened.

6.    After every intense day, processing was a chance to share my feelings and thoughts and know that my chaperones and peers cared for me and that I could do the same for them. As for the survivors’ testimony, they are amazing people and they brought what had been a “story” to life and reality in my mind. I think about the Holocaust in a completely different fashion now. It isn’t just about numbers. It’s about people who live normal lives just like us.

7.    Every testimony of each survivor had a significant impact on me. They all touched me and I truly felt like I had more of an understanding after hearing their stories and seeing what they experienced.

8.    My week in Poland on the March of the Living had a very strong impact on me as we were finally able to see and learn about where the Jews came from, their lives in Poland before the war and what their lives were like during the war. Upon visiting the camps and various sites, we were able to see abstract and tangible places that could not leave as much of an impact when learned from a textbook in school.

9.    The Holocaust Survivor Testimonies had a very strong impact on me because they seemed so real and they told us what they actually experienced.

10.   Close to everything that I experienced in Poland had a very strong impact on me and still does. The plan to discuss your emotions after every day was brilliant and truly did let you open and say things you never thought you would.

11.   The survivors are what made the trip real. We saw a lot of ruins and museums, but without their stories it would have been very hard to feel a connection. None of my close family perished in the Holocaust, and hearing their stories made the experience very vivid for me.

12.   The discussion groups allowed us to process all that had happened during our long, emotional days. The survivors’ testimonies were the most treasured part of the whole experience! It would not have been the same without them, without their stories…

13.  The survivor stories added to the meaning of the trip in a way that only hearing the story directly from them could have done.

14.  I found the survivor testimonies throughout the week made a huge impact because the experience of the March of the Living was so surreal and unbelievable. Having the survivors provided comfort and made the experience more real and I was more able to understand the Holocaust.

15.  After hearing the Survivors’ testimonies, I thought about how difficult it must be for them to come back to these horrible places. The Survivors are truly the most inspirational and courageous people that I have ever met. I cannot thank them enough for participating in the March of The Living and sharing their experiences with us.

16.  It was incredibly interesting and meaningful to hear all of the survivors’ stories and to have the chance to talk to them. Their strength and courage inspired and moved me.

17.  Extremely powerful to hear their stories from where they stood seventy years ago. It gave me a new outlook on life to hear what they had to go through.

18.  Hearing firsthand about the survivors experiences and hardships only helped solidify the emotions and feelings of the places. Hearing their inspiring and heartbreaking stories in the exact place where their story took place was very moving and touching. It helped make the March of the Living much more memorable and impactful and was a strong reminder that we must learn from the aging survivors in order to ensure that the destruction of the Holocaust never repeats itself.

19.  It was completely incredible hearing testimonies from the survivors. They are witnesses to the massacre and it gave everyone a completely different outlook when looking at the camps. We walked where the survivors walked.

20.  Survivors are the tangible link to everything we learn about…they make it “real”.

21.  I think it was the most amazing thing to watch the mechina’s presentation for Yom Hazikaron. That was one of my favorite parts of the week. Even thinking about it now, it was just unbelievable to hear them speak in our small groups afterwards and to see how much the day means to them. They also spoke about how they felt as if it was their duty to go to the army the next year and it helped me gain insight into how teenagers, my age and older, deal and cope with the daily battles of Israel and their duty to their country. it was just amazing that Jewish teenagers, that have met each other just a few days before, can come together due to Judaism and open up to each other so much.

22.  Being in Israel for me, personally, being the first time in almost 9 years, it was very moving and a very joyous moment.  Having to share that with my small groups and learn about the country Israel is today, and how much it evolved as of 63 years ago, as an independent Jewish state made me feel very happy to be a Jew, and I felt like this was my place.  And, for the 2 weeks that I was in Israel, many questions arose, for example: Wanting to live in Israel in the future? Taking a gap year? Going to the army, and serving for Israel, as being my home away from Canada? Being able to share that with others such as my Madrichim, and chaperones made it feel a lot better, because of the impact the journey had on me.

23.  I loved the program from start to finish and I learned a lot by spending time with the kids and spending time with the survivors. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

24.  It was just an incredible experience. I felt the organization was fantastic and the support from the staff amazing.

25.  The trip was very organized logistics-wise and extremely informative. It was an incredible trip that all Jewish individuals should have the chance to experience. A lot is gained from this trip and, upon returning, you return with extensive knowledge and a strong love for your religion.

26.  This trip changed my life forever and brought me closer to my Jewish Identity.

27.  The March of the Living was an absolutely incredible experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world. It has made me a better person and I will never forget the lessons I have learned on this trip. It was the chance of a lifetime and I am incredibly grateful to have done it.

28.  I would like to thank March of The Living for the fantastic trip and it will always be instilled in my memory. It truly educated me and allowed me to realize the true horrors that were committed during that time. It is much different seeing it than reading it and I am so glad that I came on this trip. Thank you again and I hope to see this program
continue to enlighten students for years to come.

29.  The visit to Majdanek was the most hard but worthwhile experiences of the March of the Living. I hope the March lasts forever and always returns to that site.

30.  This trip changed my Jewish identity forever

31.  It was an amazing trip and I recommend it to all Jewish teenagers.  It’s a life changing experience.

32.  All in all, the March of the Living was a phenomenal experience that was very well organized and run. Everything was in place and I felt very secure at all times. The Poland experience was very powerful and moving and only enhanced by our tour guide who really brought my journey to a whole new level. Visiting Israel was special and meaningful and a high point of my life. The March was run very well and is an essential trip for all students. Kol Hakavod on a job well done!

33.  It was an incredible trip that I will never forget!

34.  It was an unforgettable experience that will remain with me for the rest of my life.

35.  Easily two of the best weeks of my life. I learnt so much about my history and, while it is tough to hear some of the things, it is absolutely worth it. I also thought it really helped bring a lot of the kids in the Jewish community closer together. Would do the trip over again in a second.

36.  I think that the March is the best educational and commemorative event that young people can undertake. Therefore, I pledge to devote as much time and energy that I have. Thank you leaders chaperones and all educators and all financial supporters.

37.  I was four times on the march.  My feeling is this program does a wonderful service to bring our young people face to face with the past. We hope that, in this fashion, it will be them, the living witness, to tell the future generations of the past desecration of our people.

38.  The March of the Living was the most character building and best learning experience I’ve ever had. I learned so much about the Holocaust and the Jewish religion, and I also learned so much about myself and my peers. Even in Poland at the concentration camps, it was a positive experience because I had a great group of people for support along with amazing March of the Living staff. I will be recommending this program to every Jewish person in grade 11 next year and in years to come. Thank you so much for the opportunity to go on this trip.

39.  March of the Living was the most unbelievable breathtaking experience. The trip was planned perfectly, having it begin with Poland and end with Israel. I will always cherish the memories and pass on information to others. I will also encourage every grade 11 student to attend this incredible trip because it is truly an experience that cannot be forgotten.

40.  I think this program is amazing and has open my eyes the harsh realities of the world but also to the beautiful land of Israel. It has made me realize how proud I am to be a Jew and how important it is to keep the stories of the survivors alive. This trip has had such an impact on me and there isn’t a day I go without thinking about the trip. I really hope to become a chaperone in the future. I really hope this program stays running so that future generations can learn what I did since it is so important for everyone, Jews and non Jews, to be educated about the holocaust. Thank you so much for making this experience as amazing as it was!

41.  The March of the Living was an amazing, life changing experience and I am so happy I got to participate in it.

42.  The March of the Living was by far the greatest experience of my life. Although the days in Poland were sometimes really tough and emotional, every second of that trip was worth it. The whole trip changed my perspective on life in so many ways, and because of the trip I have gotten stronger values and have learned what I want for myself in my life. I want to thank everyone who made this trip possible and helped create the memories that I will always have and cherish.

43.  The March of the Living was the most amazing journey that I have ever been on. I know that I will take everything that I learned and saw with me for the rest of my life. I am forever grateful for the experience and for meeting tons of amazing people, especially the survivors who are true inspirations and heroes.

44.  I LOVED IT! I am a strong advocate for this trip and wish that every teenager who would like to go on it has the chance to do so. It was life changing and, even to this day, I wish I would have appreciated how special it was even more than I had while I was a participant.

45.  Participating on the March of the Living was the most meaningful experience I had. Although I thought I knew a lot about the Holocaust from what I learned in school (Bialik and CHAT), and heard stories from my grandparents, nothing made it feel as real as actually being there. I felt being there with survivors was a gift. I know how fortunate I was to have been able to go and “will never forget”!!

46.  Best trip of my life.

47.  I really was nervous to go on this youth trip. In the end I can definitely say, with a big grin across my face, that I truly had a meaningful, emotional, and overall amazing experience. What amazed me, and continues to amaze me, is the bonds I created with so many different people on this trip! I wish I could go on it again! Thanks so much!

48.  It was such a profound experience to bring everything I’ve learned about the Holocaust to life. A great opportunity to see the scar on our history and how we can stand up and remember those who died by taking action in our world.

49.  The March of the Living changed my life in ways that I can’t begin to describe. I feel that I have grown so much as a young Jewish adult. I have seen horrible things, and heard horrible stories, but I know that I can take this knowledge and make a difference every day in making sure that the Holocaust never happens again. The March helped me develop my Jewish identity more than years of Jewish schooling ever did, and I am eternally grateful for that. On another note, my chaperone, Jeff, was the most amazing, empathetic, caring, intelligent, and friendly guy. He inspired all of us to be better people, and, for that, I am extremely thankful.

50.  The March of the Living was the most incredible experience that I have ever had the pleasure of attending. I learned so much from the sites I visited, from my peers and from the survivors that travelled with me. Thank you so much!

51.  The March of the Living was the most meaningful experience I have ever had. I have never felt more connected to my faith and felt that I truly belong. The trip was everything I had hoped it would be and more. I only wish I could do it all over again

52.  Overall, the March of the Living was an amazing, incredible experience and I wouldn’t trade it in for anything in the world.

53.  Filling this out makes me miss the march so much. It was a trip of a lifetime.

54.  I thought it was a fantastic trip; it changed my life. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to go on such a powerful trip.

55.  I thought, overall, the trip was well-run, delivered powerful messages and left a profound and lasting impact on me that will drive me toward action. I also have left with a stronger sense of Zionism and pride and connection to my Jewish identity.

56.  This trip is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I am so thankful to have been able to go on it and feel it is something every 16-17 year old should be privileged enough to go on as well. I think that everything was more than perfect and that it is something I will carry with me forever. I loved everything about it and want to thank everyone who was on this once of a lifetime trip with me. I have been shown the atrocities of the holocaust and am positive that after everything I’ve seen I will never forget and continue to carry on the legacy of the Jewish nation.

57.  I would just like to say that this trip is truthfully a one of a kind experience and I would no doubt recommend it to all those who wish to go through learning about the holocaust in Poland. There is no way to put into words all of the feelings felt during this trip but they ranged all the way from extreme sadness and anger to absolute happiness and pride. I would like to thank everyone involved with any aspect of the trip including all the chaperons, survivors, leaders, guides and all the participants. I would especially like to thank Elad Bar-Ilan, who was one of the best guides I have ever had and is a true gem for the March of the Living to have touring a group. I will never forget all of the things I learned and experienced and still today embrace the idea of not taking all the things I have for granted.

58.  The March of the Living was a very influential experience for me. I learned so much and will forever remember my experience on the March. I will continue to share my experiences with the rest of the Jewish community and encourage others to take this trip.

59.  I had the most meaningful trip. I developed a tremendous love for Israel. My chaperones were incredible… I loved the trip and I truly believe it made me a better person and it gave me a better perspective on life.

60.  It was honestly the most incredible experience of my entire life and I feel that it is something all Jewish people should do.

61.  I really enjoyed the March of the Living, and any time someone asks me how it was, even now, a little over two months since we have left, I am speechless. Words cannot describe my experience.

62.  The March of the Living program had a large impact on me, not only as a Jew but, as a person. The experiences I had on the trip were very meaningful for myself and the things that I have seen and heard will always be remembered.

63.  Thank you to everyone involved in MOL2013 – it was a truly amazing experience that had shown me and taught me things about my religion, my history, my identity and myself. It was an amazing two weeks and I will forever hold them in my memory.

64.  It was a life changing and eye opening experience for me.

65. The March of the Living is an experience that changed me and it will change anyone who goes on it. I believe more people should go on it and experience what we experienced.

66.  I had the best time and it was a life altering experience that I will never forget. I wish I could do it again. I met so many wonderful people like the survivors chaperons and new friends that I will cherish forever.

67.  There are no words to explain how much this trip means to me. I think about it every day. I learned so much about myself in the short two weeks. Never have I felt so connected, accepted, and supported by my peers. There is nothing I would change about the trip. The programming was incredible, and the activities flowed nicely into one another. There was a perfect balance between feelings of sadness and happiness. I could not have asked for a more meaningful and amazing experience.

68.  This was the best experience of my life. I feel so empowered. Thank you so much.

69.. It was truly an inspirational, spiritual and educational trip that taught me about what it means to be a Jew.

70.  It was an absolutely unbelievable experience and I would do it 1000 times over. Thanks for giving me, as well as so many other Jewish youth, this opportunity.

71.  This was a trip of the lifetime. Anyone who attends MOL in the future is very lucky. I will never forget MOL 2013.

72.  Thank you so much for changing for my life for the better.  I have learned so much from this insightful, and memorable two weeks and will forever cherish it. Knowing that I had the opportunity to hear testimonies from living survivors and going to see sights all over Poland where Jews settled and fought for their lives, makes me feel honoured to be the young Jewish individual I am today. I am forever thankful and I truly wish I could start the experience all over again because of how much I learned about the holocaust and the hardships Jewish people had to suffer for 6 years: the torture, horrors, and massacres.  But, most importantly, the faith they always had that freedom would come and that resistance [would] prevail. As a result of the Jewish people…. fighting for what they believed in, today we have an Independent Jewish State. Thank you again.  I will never forget, and always cherish, and share, the experience I had. I will carry on the legacy of those who died heroes and survived heroes. Never again.  And, once again, thank you. Forever in my heart, remembering those who perished, fought for Jewish independence, and for freedom. They lived with honour and, truly, died with honour. FOREVER – Am Israel Chai.

73.  The March of the Living is a ONCE IN A LIFETIME experience and should continue to show and teach the young generation of Jews to stand up and show the world that we Jews are here to stay and live, despite the Holocaust.

74.  The March was a most educational, emotional experience. It was superbly conducted and most educational. Thank you!