March of the Living (archive)
The following words are written in Krakow, Poland. This Polish city is already flooded by thousands of Israelis and Diaspora Jews who arrived in order to take part in Thursday's March of the Living. The color of their raincoats is already painting the town and its restaurants blue. In the next two days one can speak Hebrew here and everyone would understand.
Facts & Figures
Stephen Roth Institute's 2011 anti-Semitism report notes overall increase in hate crimes across Europe, Australia and Canada; says overall verbal threats, vandalism cases down 27%
The Poles may not like this Israeli and Jewish horde, but they're accustomed to it by now. Over the years, Krakow has become the Israeli and Jewish base for tours of Auschwitz and Birkenau. As things stand now, this will maintain the livelihood of the Polish tourism industry for many years to come. The Poles will be making millions thanks to the six million Jews.
Much has been written about the Israeli and Jewish journeys to Poland. Some people support them, while others object. The assumption is that in the coming years these trips will continue, and possibly draw larger crowds. Tens of thousands of people from all over the world will be coming to Poland.
This contradicts, of course, the common perception that the memory of the Holocaust is waning among Europe's political elites, among other reasons because of the overuse of the crematoria and concentration camp terminology within Israel's current political climate.
Yet the fact is that the number of Israelis and Jews arriving here over the years is not declining; the opposite may be true. Another noteworthy fact is that the international school of Holocaust studies at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem has already trained thousands of teachers, including many non-Jews from dozens of states, who return to their home countries in order to teach local youths about the Holocaust.
Some 70 such seminars were held at Yad Vashem this year alone, and Chairman Avner Shalev believes that interest in the Holocaust keeps on growing.
Shalev, a man who deserves much gratitude, says that we are seeing greater openness to the Shoah story and its universal lessons worldwide. He believes that with the passage of years, interest in the Holocaust will keep growing even further. The 10,000 people who will be marching Thursday from Auschwitz to the crematoria of Birkenau are one testament of this.