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March of Living to mark 80 years since destruction of Hungarian Jewry

The International March of the Living will hold two significant marches in May under the banner “Together We Remember.”

The annual March of the Living at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp in Poland, April 28, 2022. Photo by Aloni Mor/MOTL.
The annual March of the Living at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp in Poland, April 28, 2022. Photo by Aloni Mor/MOTL.

International March of the Living will begin its commemorations this year in Budapest on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day on May 6 with a march marking 80 years since the destruction of Hungarian Jewry during the Holocaust.

Led by 80 Hungarian Holocaust survivors and joined by thousands of others, the march will begin at the Dohany Synagogue adjacent to the birthplace of Theodor Herzl—the father of modern Zionism—and conclude with a ceremony at the Keleti Train Station, where the first deportation of Jews from Budapest to Auschwitz-Birkenau took place.

Following the formal ceremony, a “Train of the Living” will depart for Auschwitz on a journey retracing the path of the death transports from Hungary.

Accompanied by hundreds of Hungarian students, the train will arrive at Oswiecim, after which they will then join the thousands of participants gathered at Auschwitz.

More than 550,000 Hungarian Jews perished in the final stages of World War II. Within weeks in the spring of 1944, the majority of these victims perished in Auschwitz-Birkenau or during death marches to Austria.

Nearly 15,000 people were murdered per day and tens of thousands were tragically slain along the banks of the Danube in Budapest.

The main march—the 36th International March of the Living—will take place on Yom Holocaust Remembrance Day and traverse the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in memory of the Jews murdered in the Holocaust and in honor of those who survived.

The march will renew the call of “Never Again”—a vow that was broken on Oct. 7 when the State of Israel and the Jewish people endured the most severe atrocities since World War II and the Holocaust, sparking an unprecedented surge of global antisemitism.

The march will be led by 55 Holocaust survivors from countries around the world, among them 21 Holocaust survivors from Hungary and seven Holocaust survivors who were also personally impacted by the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas terrorists in southern Israel.

‘A constant reminder’

Shmuel Rosenman and Phyllis Greenberg Heideman, chairman and president, respectively, of the International March of the Living, said in a statement:

“This year’s March of the Living holds profound significance, as the horrors of the past intertwine with the present ongoing nightmare faced by the State of Israel. The recent incomprehensible massacre on Oct. 7 serves as a constant reminder of the persistent threat posed by antisemitic hatred.

“This year, more than ever, we understand why preserving the memory of the Holocaust is still essential. Fighting against the continuous and overwhelming wave of antisemitism makes the March of the Living’s mission to remember more important and more relevant than ever. We will strenuously continue to teach about the history of the Holocaust, and we will continue to stand together against antisemitism.

Expected to be among those lending voices and commitment to the importance of remembrance and resilience are thousands of Jewish and non-Jewish students and adults from around the globe; presidents from universities in the United States and Canada; a global delegation of top TikTok creators; Pastor Larry Huch, representing the New Beginnings Church and Pastor Larry Huch Ministries; and a Transnational Law Enforcement delegation.

The March of the Living, KKL-JNF in Israel, the Jewish Agency and the Hungarian Jewish Heritage Foundation MAZSOK will jointly hold an international conference in Budapest focusing on the Holocaust of Hungarian Jewry.

This conference will feature participation from young Jewish leaders across Europe, initiated by the Jewish Agency for Israel and with involvement from the leadership of the JNF, led by chairperson Yifat Ovadia, among others. Participants of the conference will also take part in the March of the Living events in both Budapest and Poland.

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