WHEN THE VOICE OF MEMORY BECOMES A POWERFUL VOICE AGAINST ANTI-SEMITISM

From 15.2. to 17.2.2019 organizers, coordinators and supporters of the March of Life from 20 nations came together for the 4th International March of Life Conference in Tübingen.

"It is as if we had climbed a mountain from two sides for centuries and now comes the time when we meet at the top through the March of Life as Jews and Christians," explained the director of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, Josh Reinstein, at a breakfast reception of the approximately 90 international March of Life organizers.

The three-day conference was an encouragement to each individual to raise their voice and be a light, be it in their personal environment or in public on the streets during marches of life around the world.

Organizers of the various marches reported on their experiences and how the March of Life is an answer to the shift to the right in society, to which politicians are struggling to find. Edward Cwierz, who is a special voice for remembrance and working through the past in Poland, confirmed the conference topics on Saturday morning: "Life is too short to be afraid and to remain in the same place!

Shaya Ben Yehuda, Director of the Department of International Relations in Yad Vashem, spoke about his own family in a moving talk on Sunday morning about the different voices of remembrance. His father could never speak about his experiences, even until his death. He only reacted with tears to inquiries. He was one of the many "silent voices" of the survivors. Ben Yehuda's mother Chava, on the other hand, told of her experiences as a Jewess in Wroclaw - "My mother taught us as children that we have to look for friends. At that time I could not imagine finding friends. But through you - Jobst and Charlotte and all of you here - I found many friends!

Friends were there also, the Holocaust survivor Dr. Arie Itamar who told his life story on Friday and Saturday evening, and Itzak Rosman, chairman of the Society for the Memory of the Exodus 1947. Born in Odessa, a city full of flourishing Jewish life in the Ukraine, Arie Itamar had to flee with his grandmother to Central Asian Tajikistan on a risky way during the invasion of the Germans. His father was killed in the battle for Moscow. After the end of the war, the family joined the refugee movement to Eretz Israel and in June 1947 boarded the refugee ship Exodus, the failure of which finally led to the founding of the State of Israel in May 1948.

Jobst Bittner, founder and president of the March of Life Movement, stressed that the basis for an audible, authentic voice of remembrance was the working through of one's own family history and the guilt of Christians during the National Socialist era. In his lectures, he used concrete examples to show how the Church's reaction to National Socialism at that time paved the way for the Shoah and what the consequences are to this day. Very impressively, two families told how the veil of silence about the complications of guilt within one's own family had affected the lives of the next two generations. Their coming to terms with it changed their hearts towards the Jewish people and released the motivation to stand up today with the March of Life against anti-Semitism and Israel hatred.

At the end of the conference, the Jewish German rapper Ben Salomo expressed the impact of this: "I have often considered going back to Israel because of anti-Semitism in Germany. But the way in which the March of Life is working against anti-Semitism makes me hopeful for the future."

Every voice and every march makes the difference - United to be a Light!

 

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