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.
On Nov. 11, Canadians will gather at cenotaphs, schools, churches, synagogues and other public places to mark the sacrifices of Canadian soldiers in armed conflicts around the world.
To make the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II even more significant, March of the Living Canada (MOL) is asking schools taking part in Remembrance Day activities to add the video of a unique peace song to their memorials – Lay Down Your Arms.
Written by a wounded Israeli veteran of the Yom Kippur War to honour his fallen comrades, with lyrics by a Canadian songwriter and a bridge by a local musician, the song “has Canadian content and a universal message,” said MOL national director Eli Rubenstein.
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
The March of the Living played a very significant role in my decision to make aliyah and join the Israel Defence Forces. From my experience, my Jewish identity only grew and I felt a need to contribute more to the Jewish homeland, Israel. It is very important to me for fight for the land in which now belongs to the Jews and to fight for all those who perished in the Holocaust. Without March of the Living, I would not be in the army today.