Marches of Life on Occasion of Yom haShoah as a Statement Against Anti-Semitism and for Israel


On occasion of Yom haShoah around the time of May 5, 2016, numerous Marches of Life took place in Berlin, Leipzig, Dresden, and Tübingen, as well as in many other cities in Germany. They were organized in cooperation with the Jewish communities there and met with a large turnout. Two members of the Israeli Knesset had come from Israel to participate and speak at the Marches. The goal of the March of Life is to make a public statement of solidarity with Israel and against anti-Semitism with these memorial marches.

This year, the international March of Life Movement is organizing memorial marches in over 80 cities in Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, the United Kingdom, Poland, Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru, Ecuador, and the USA. In Galveston (USA), the March of Life was proclaimed the official Holocaust memorial event of the city. In Belfast (Northern Ireland), the March of Life found national attention in the media as a voice of reconciliation and friendship to Israel.

Among the speakers at the events in Germany were Yoel Hasson, Deputy Speaker and Member of the Knesset; Meirav Ben Ari, and Member of the Knesset; Dr. Thomas Feist, Member of the German Bundestag, CDU; Dr. Philipp Lengsfeld, Member of the German Bundestag, CDU; Küf Kaufmann, President of the Israelite Religious Community Leipzig and Member of the Executive Committee of the Central Council of Jews in  Germany; Jonah Sievers, Rabbi of the local Jewish congregation in Berlin; Zsolt Balla, Rabbi of the local Israelite Religious Community and Board Member of the Orthodox Rabbis’ Conference Germany, and many others.

Special Guests of Honor were the Holocaust survivors Dr. Alexej Heistver (President of the Federal Association of Holocaust Survivors in Germany “Phoenix from the Ashes”), Assia Gorban (Member of the Representatives’ Gathering of the Jewish Community in  Berlin), Isak Suher, Yoel Aron, and Assia Jasjukevich. They shared their moving personal history of survival, of mass executions, concentration camps, ghettos, and medical experiments, bringing the memory of the Holocaust alive. Descendants of Nazi perpetrators shared their family stories and presented flowers to the Holocaust survivors as a sign of their remorse.

More than 70 years after the end of the Holocaust, xenophobia, nationalism and anti-Semitism are on the rise again in Europe, unlike anything seen since the 1930s. The March of Life is calling churches and congregations to hold annual memorial marches in cooperation with the Jewish community around the time of Yom haShoah in every city, region and country. In 2017, the Marches of Life will take place between April 21 and 30.

The March of Life goes back to an initiative by Jobst Bittner from Tübingen in 2007. In recent years, memorial and reconciliation marches were held all over the world. Some of them lasted for several days and covered thousands of miles. The March of Life was repeatedly honored by the Knesset for its special efforts on behalf of Holocaust survivors.

The President of the German Bundestag, Dr. Norbert Lammert, wrote about the movement in his word of greeting, “The initiative March of Life is valuable and important. A humble prayer initiative has long since become an international movement that includes both eyewitnesses and those born later. I hope that many people will be moved by this idea.”


Some Press Reports on the March of Life: (start at 9:10 min);art186,4612631;art4329,3821293

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