Although the 2020 March of the Living will not take place on Holocaust Memorial Day due to the coronavirus pandemic, an estimated 10,000 people have participated in the organization’s virtual memorial-plaque project.

The plaques will be projected on the entrance gate to the Birkenau death camp on Tuesday as Holocaust Remembrance Day begins across the Jewish world.

The virtual project launched last week, under the slogan “NeverMeansNever,” gives individuals around the world the opportunity to simulate one of the most meaningful personal moments of the March by composing a personal message and placing it on a virtual plaque along the train tracks in Birkenau.

The project continues the tradition of remembering and paying tribute to the victims, honoring the survivors and committing to the global fight against anti-Semitism, hatred and intolerance.

So far, more than 10,000 people (the number scheduled to participate in March of the Living 2020) from 60 different countries have laid personal plaques via the mini-site.

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin was the first to lay a virtual plaque.

Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum devoid of those participating in the annual March of the Living to mark Yom Hashoah, April 20-21, 2020. Credit: Marcin Kozlowski, March of the Living.

He has been joined by a wide range of international figures, including the heads of Israel’s security services; human-rights icon and Genesis Prize winner Natan Sharansky; Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer; U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman; Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog; Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks; Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Pastor John Hagee; actress Mayim Bialik; British TV stars Rachel Riley and Matt Lucas; classic Israeli singer and songwriter Shlomo Artzi; Israeli pop-star Ivri Lider; and Israeli soccer star Eran Zahavi.

In addition to screening the virtual plaques on the infamous “Arbeit Macht Frei” gates at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the plaques were projected onto the wall of Israel’s National Theater-Habima in Tel Aviv on Monday evening, when the holiday began in Israel. Actors and actresses from the theater stood for a minute’s silence during a memorial ceremony at Habima.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday a virtual March of the Living ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and can be viewed live here.

The ceremony will feature Rivlin, testimonies from Holocaust survivors Edward Mosberg and Irving Roth, addresses from Jewish leaders, Holocaust educators, March of the Living alumni and more.

Support Jewish Journalism
with 2020 Vision

One of the most intriguing stories of the sudden Coronavirus crisis is the role of the internet. With individuals forced into home quarantine, most are turning further online for information, education and social interaction.

JNS's influence and readership are growing exponentially, and our positioning sets us apart. Most Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas. JNS is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

During this crisis, JNS continues working overtime. We are being relied upon to tell the story of this crisis as it affects Israel and the global Jewish community, and explain the extraordinary political developments taking place in parallel.

Our ability to thrive in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters. Monthly donations in particular go a long way in helping us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make during these challenging times. We thank you for your ongoing support and wish you blessings for good health and peace of mind.