FROM THE HOLOCAUST TO NEW LIFE - 2ND MARCH OF LIFE CONFERENCE IN TUEBINGEN

Organizers and friends from all over the world came to Tuebingen on March 3rd – 5th, 2017 for the 2nd March of Life Conference.

Among the guests of honor were Israeli Member of Knesset Robert Ilatov, Chief Rabbi Netanel Wurmser and Auschwitz Survivor Yechiel Aleksander. More than 4,000 participants who had been unable to attend personally joined the event via live stream. The program was full of ground-breaking, diverse teaching. The account by Holocaust survivor Yechiel Aleksander was especially moving. The local newspaper published a detailed report on his life following the conference.

In lieu of “An Evening to Honor Israel” Saturday evening, Israeli Member of Knesset Robert Iiatov , Tuebingen´s Senior Mayor Boris Palmer, Chief Rabbi to Baden-Wuertemberg Netanel Wurmser, and others spoke about the necessity of remembering the past and to take to the streets for life. In his introduction, Jobst Bittner emphasized the strength of the March of Life movement, to bring people together, from different nations, denominations, religions, and political parties, who unite against forgetting and modern anti-Semitism. Netanel Wurmser admonished in his address: â€œWe are living in a time, when life is being threatened of no longer being valuable, and we approve of too many things. We have to invest all of our strengths into making sure that life will once again receive content and a true value.”  “It can´t be“, Boris Palmer stated, ”that people who wear a kippah have to be afraid in Germany again. We will not tolerate this! It’s final: Germany stands steadfast on Israel’s side - today and in the future!” Robert IIatov spoke about modern Israel and accounted Christian supporters “to the most important allies Israel has today.” 

Part of the evening program included a dramatic reading of the stories of Holocaust survivor Jerzy Gross, which was illustrated through music, dance, and theater. This made the meaning of an eye-witness account relatable for the younger generation.

The participants were exposed to encouraging reports concerning the development of the March of Life movement in different parts of the world throughout the conference. March of Life plays an ever more defining role in the culture of remembrance in Poland, Hungary, Latin America, the USA and more. Jobst Bittner used the example of Israel´s Patriarch Jacob to demonstrate how you should not let up in pursuing a goal, for example a March of Life, in the face of resistance. But rather continue even more determined, “As long as descendants (of victims) have to dwell in the shadows of the Holocaust, our responsibility is not over yet.”  

Prof. Dr. Gideon Greif from Israel, who is connected with March of Life as one of the world-wide most renowned Holocaust Researchers, taught afterwards about the birth, development, and meaning of the Zionist movement. “Zionism is a permanent dream,“ he said at the end of his remarks, “which every Jew and non-Jew, who loves the chosen people, must bear in his heart. Zion is not only a place. It is a nation, a past, a present, and a future. It is the place of God, his promises and their fulfillment.”   

The biblical view of Israel and the March of Life movement was conveyed in Gottfried Buehler (ICEJ-Germany) and Pastor Stefan Haas´ inputs: The nations will go up to Israel and worship the God of Israel. Even though today´s events in world politics are far from this, God is already bringing representatives from the nations to Jerusalem as harbingers now. Thus the conference date for “March of the Nations” 2018 in Jerusalem was announced: May 13th – 15th, 2018, the nations will gather for a march of reconciliation in Israel.

That afternoon, 400 participants split off into eleven different workshops on relevant topics to March of Life, such as “Working through Family Truths“, “Jewish-Christian Encounters“, “Handling Modern Anti-Semitism”, and others. [Link: View Program]. The workshops were recorded and some were streamed live.

The different components of the conference led to one unique conglomerate, which directs the path from the past into the future. Chief Rabbi summarized the message of March of Life with these words, “It is very important to convey – Am Israel Chai!”

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