The International March of the Living will hold a virtual march on Holocaust Remembrance Day to be led by Holocaust survivors and Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion, Jewish Agency chair Isaac Herzog, Keren Kayemet LeYisrael chair Avraham Duvdevani and Rabbi Israel Meir Lau.

Participants from across the globe were filmed using innovative 3D technology so they appear to be walking on the traditional March of the Living route at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and death camp.

The event will include a tribute to medical professionals who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save others. To that end, doctors, nurses, paramedics and representatives from numerous medical associations, including the World Medical Association, as well as those on the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, will participate in the program.

Others include Israel’s coronavirus chief Professor Nachman Ash; Professor Idit Matot, director of anesthesia at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital; Galia Rahav, head of the Infectious Disease Unit and Laboratories at Sheba Medical Center; Magen David Adom director-general Eli Bin; and Chaim Freund, CEO of the Israeli health organization Ezer Mitzion, along with his mother, Holocaust survivor Tzipora Freund.

“The fact that this is the second year that we will not march,” due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, “is difficult,” acknowledged Dr. Shmuel Rosenman, world chair of March of the Living, and Phyllis Greenberg Heideman, its president. “However, will never stop the work of remembrance. This year, we found a way to hold a virtual march that brings us as close as possible to a feeling that cannot be explained in words. We will be at Auschwitz-Birkenau in spirit and soul, and we will be joined by millions of people around the world.”

The virtual march will air on April 8 at 10 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (4 p.m. in Europe and 5 p.m. in Israel). It will be followed by an online memorial ceremony with the first torch of remembrance lit by Rivlin.

“We all have a duty to pass on the memory of the Holocaust to future generations, not to forget, not to let it be forgotten,” said Rivlin. “During this pandemic, we are prevented from stepping on the accursed earth, saturated with the blood of 6 million of our people. Yet we have vowed never to forget or let go.”

He said “technology allows us—each and every one of us—to participate in the March of Living without leaving home, while contributing to the commemoration of the Holocaust and its victims. We must harness all the tools at our disposal to fight racism, anti-Semitism, attempts at denial. We must continue marching.”

The public is invited to participate in the event, which offers the opportunity to have personal messages virtually placed against the backdrop of the train tracks at Auschwitz. Individual plaques and messages can be placed via a dedicated mini-site here.

JNS

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