March of Life for Israel in Zürich

Representatives from the Israeli Embassy and Swiss Parliament, as well as members of different Christian and Jewish organizations and Holocaust survivors, were among the 300 participants of the first March of Life for Israel in Zürich on September 11, 2017.

Michael Ruh, Coordinator of the movement in Switzerland, opened the event with the call not to remain neutral today in the face of anti-Semitism and criticism towards Israel. Furthermore, he challenged participants to take responsibility for the history of Switzerland´s treatment of the Jewish people.

The march path led from Kunsthaus, across Zwingliplatz beim Grossmünster, to Bürkliplatz, which is across from the Swiss National Bank. This route served to remind the marchers how Switzerland robbed Jewish people of money, gold and art.

The ambassador from the Israeli Embassy to Bern, Mrs. Michal Hershkovitz, expressed her appreciation for the March of Life movement and conveyed her continued support. Markus Kübler informed the audience of the locale’s historical background in relation to the event. He explained that even though Switzerland has judicially dealt with the history of money and gold thievery, this area is still lacking the moral attention needed to complete the restorative process. Timotheus Bruderer, General Secretary of the Parliament Group Israel-Switzerland, dove even further into Switzerland´s past. Bruderer posed the question as to why Rudolf Brun, Zürich’s first Mayor, did not make use of his position to help the Jews during the Black Plague of the Middle Ages instead of becoming wealthy by acquiring their possessions and goods.

Andreas Recher, Canton Leader of “Prayer for Switzerland,” shared how he was shaken deeply by preliminary preparations for the march. He had no idea that Switzerland was so heavily intertwined with Nazi-Germany, and that most of the steps towards restoration which were taken by Switzerland, were taken reluctantly.

Even Holocaust survivors Catherine Rübner and Gabor Hirsch participated in the March of Life for Israel. Deeply touched by their stories, the other March participants asked the God of Israel, as well as the Jews, for forgiveness. They declared that they want to explicitly name these crimes, and to never be silent again. The dance group that had traveled from Tübingen, Germany, YC Dance, performed two Jewish dances and ignited such a joy that the entire group broke out into dance at Bürkliplatz.

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