ד"ר שמואל רוזנמן- יו"ר מצעד החיים
Dr. Shmuel Rosenman
Photo: Yossi Zliger
Illustration of a Holocaust survivor

March of the Living is about finding human among the inhumane

Opinion: The annual event was suppose to remind the world of the horrors of war, but it seems we have failed, and some didn't get the message; this is why it is our duty to keep marching until the world listens

Shmuel Rosenman |
Published: 04.28.22, 23:23
What is the meaning of "never again"? Is it just another eroded phrase we throw around without thinking too much of what it means? And when we vow to "never forget," do we really believe it?
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  • If so, how come even these days in the heart of Europe we witness similar atrocities, including images of mass graves on the streets? Could it be that despite all the catchphrases, the world learned nothing from the horrors of war?
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    Illustration of a Holocaust survivor
    (Photo: Guy Morad)
    These thoughts have been troubling me lately, and I can't help but associate them with a different event, seemingly unrelated to the horrible war in Ukraine.
    During this year's March of the Living - which once again occurred on Polish soil after two years of the COVID pandemic - only eight Holocaust survivors participated. They are the remaining witnesses of one of the biggest genocides in history, the last few flashes of memory who can still tell us of what mankind allowed to happen.
    The Russian invasion of Ukraine is not similar to the Holocaust, and Vladimir Putin is not Adolf Hitler. The world is not looking the other way like it did during the Holocaust, but I can't help but wonder: Have we become more indifferent and numb to human suffering over the years? Or is it because there are fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors who can remind us of the lessons of the Shoah?
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    מצעד החיים אושוויץ מחנה השמדהה פולין יום השואה
    מצעד החיים אושוויץ מחנה השמדהה פולין יום השואה
    March of the Living
    (Photo: Yossi Zliger)
    Yes, since World War II, we have witnessed extremely difficult and terrible events and even crimes against humanity. For example, the Rwandan genocide or the Ghouta chemical attack in Syria.
    But still, something about the defiant publicity of mass murder in this media era - when everything is broadcast and streamed live - is not allowing me to rest.
    When I recall the hundreds of Holocaust survivors who I had the privilege to speak to over the years, who are no longer with us, I'm sure that they would not stand by.
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    מצעד החיים באושוויץ
    מצעד החיים באושוויץ
    March of the Living
    (Photo: Iris Lifshitz Klieger‎)
    Some of these heroes crawled out of the sites of massacres, some of which took place in Ukraine, which is no once again torn by a war.
    The ultimate goal of the March of the Living is to remember and to remind. To remember the six million Jews who were murdered and to remind humanity that the abyss of evil is bottomless, and that hatred only leads to destruction and carnage.
    The other goal, no less important, is to do something about it. To fight, literally, against racism and antisemitism everywhere. To be human among the inhumane. We hoped to prevent crimes against all humanity - not just against the Jewish people - and it seems we have failed. Some didn't get our message.
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    מצעד החיים באושוויץ
    מצעד החיים באושוויץ
    A Holocaust survivor shows his tattoed number
    (Photo: AFP)
    In a year, or ten, there will no longer be any living Holocaust survivors. However, the our mission will become even more important. How we will fulfill the goal and make sure the Holocaust never happens again? Will we stand behind our words when there will be no one to make sure of it?
    I choose to be optimistic, even in the face of the current atrocities. As long as the living are marching, and their spirit lives on - we will keep fighting. It is our duty and we will not abandon it.

    Dr. Shmuel Rosenman is the co-founder and chairman of the International March of the Living
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