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March Report Issue 3 Spring 2019

Issue 3, Spring/Summer 2019
Teach your children ךינבל םתננשו :רמאנש יפכ ,האושה ןורכיז תא ץיפהלו רמשל םיביוחמ ונלוכ
NEW CHALLENGES AT AUSCHWITZ
Ahead of the 75
th
anniversary of the liberation of the largest Nazi death camp,
the head of its state museum wrestles with difficult questions
MOTL honors Thessaloniki’s lost Jewish community • Noah Klieger’s lasting legacy • Tribute to
Justice Gabriel Bach • Polish edition of Witness launched • UN diplomats focus on Holocaust
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
The
Report
2
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Responding to a Growing
Scourge Worldwide
March of the Living to launch global action to fight increasing
acts of anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism and other hatred
S
everal weeks from now,
many thousands of people,
coming from 45 countries,
will arrive in Poland to take
part in the annual March of the
Living which will
also include time in
Israel. Participants
will be comprised
of teenagers, adults,
survivors, Right-
eous Among the
Nations, guides and
others.
For most of
those taking part in
MOTL, it will be their rst such
March. Some of the leaders,
educators and organizers will
return to the sites as part of their
ongoing holy mission which
they’ve been carrying out for
years. These wonderful, special
individuals are deeply com-
mitted to MOTLs ideals and
principles.
I dont have enough words
to express my deepest thanks
and appreciation to each one of
them for their enormous efforts,
devotion and hard work to pro-
mote and expand the March.
One of this year’s important
missions is to clearly present the
need to unite all human beings
in the civilized world to combat
and help eliminate anti-Sem-
itism, hatred and
Holocaust denial.
These toxic
currents, along
with pernicious
fascist movements,
are increasingly
present all over the
planet. We must act
against this evil.
Terrible attacks of
all kinds, cruel events, threats
and odious ideas are targeting
the Jewish people. It’s as if the
world learned nothing from the
darkest chapter in history of 75
years ago.
In February, CNN released
a frightening survey that shows
that more than one third of peo-
ple in European countries the
Nazis occupied during WW2,
believe Jews are responsible for
anti-Semitism. Not surprisingly,
their awareness of Holocaust
history is minimal.
The world shouldn’t be
surprised from these disturbing
results. People have long ignored
such ndings, much to their own
peril. The survey and countless
other manifestations of racist
ignorance should be of grave
concern. The current situation is
dangerous. Nobody should ever
think something like the Holo-
caust cant happen again.
Leaders of this year’s
March of the Living will
demand that the growth in an-
ti-Semitism, hatred, xenophobia
and racism be met head-on. On
the eve of Yom Hashoah, (Holo-
caust Memorial Day), at Krakow
University in Poland, we will
have a conference at which
we will launch MOTLs global
action ghting anti-Semitism,
Chairman and CEO
DR. SHMUEL ROSENMAN
President
PHYLLIS GREENBERG HEIDEMAN
Editor-in-Chief
AHARON (AHARALE) TAMIR
Advisory Board
ELI RUBENSTEIN
ARIANA HEIDEMAN TIPOGRAPH
Editor
ROBERT SARNER
Design/Production
AVIV SARNER-AFARGAN
The International March of the Living
Report is published twice a year by the
International March of the Living. We
welcome letters/comments from readers.
Please send them to motl@motlmail.org or
International March of the Living, Atten-
tion: Editor-in-Chief, 2 West 45th Street,
Suite 1500, New York, New York 10036
USA. Tel: 212-869-6800 www.motl.org.
Aharon (Aharale) Tamir
neo-Nazism and hatred.
In addition to this im-
portant mission, MOTL will
promote the second part of its
mandate – the visit to Israel to
implement the Israeli experience
for participants. All delegations
will express their support and
commitment to Israel.
The visit to the homeland
of the Jewish people is of great
importance and a wonderful,
we dare say, perfect closing of
the circle, from “Holocaust to
Revival” which is at the heart
of MOTLs ideals, values and
commitment.
Strengthening Jewish
identity and supporting the state
of Israel go hand in hand and
shoulder to shoulder with the
MOTL mission to remember and
ensure that such atrocities never
happen again.
I welcome all readers to
this new issue of The March of
The Living Report and hope you
enjoy it. Wishing everyone a
happy and meaningful Pesach
holiday.
Aharon (Aharale) Tamir
Deputy World Chairman, MOTL
THE NEXT
BEST THING
TO BEING THERE
If you can’t take part in the March of the Living this spring,
you can watch it live online at two places.
The March will be livestreamed on its website’s homepage
at www.motl.org
or alternatively on the MOTL Facebook page
at facebook.com/MOTLorg.
At Auschwitz, visitors see for themselves what racial hatred can lead to
The
Report
3
CALENDAR
Dates Worth Noting
2018
Oct. 4 - Sighet, Romania
International conference on combating anti-Semitism
Oct. 4 - Sighet, Romania
Remembrance ceremony in honor of the late Holocaust sur-
vivor Elie Wiesel on what would have been his 90th birthday
Oct. 20 - Fukuyama, Japan
Memorial traveling exhibition in honor of Japanese Righ-
teous Among the Nations, Chiune Sugihara
Nov. 6 - Brussels, Belgium
Annual conference of European Jewish Association
Nov. 11 - Vilnius, Lithuania
Participation in EU educational conference and seminar for
teachers and educators
Nov 21 - Warsaw, Poland
Launch of the Polish version of the March of the Living book
Witness, at Polin Museum
Nov 25 - Warsaw, Poland
Launch of Dr. Janusz Korchak exhibition at Polin Museum
Nov 30 - Dec. 2 - Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Chaperone training weekend for Canadian delegation to
MOTL
Dec. 9 - Warsaw, Poland
Ofcial event at Presidential palace, presenting MOTL ofcial
album and Polish edition of Witness to Polish President
Dec. 9 - Warsaw, Poland
Participating in Hanukkah candle-lighting with Polish
President
December 15 and 16 – Amsterdam, The Netherlands
New Horizons Conference with Anne Frank House
Dec. 19 - Jerusalem, Israel
International conference on 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann with
Supreme Court judge Gabriel Bach
Dec. 20 - Jerusalem, Israel
International conference on ghting Holocaust denial, xeno-
phobia, anti-Semitism and other racial hatred
Dec. 20 - Jerusalem, Israel
Launch of Elie Wiesel Memorial Conference with partners
2019
Jan. 2 - Warsaw, Poland
Visit of delegation of UN Ambassadors
Jan. 27 - Jerusalem, Israel
Commemoration in honor of Japanese Righteous Among the
Nations, Chiune Sugihara
Jan. 27 – Auschwitz/Birkenau, Poland
Participating at International Holocaust Commemoration Day
at Auschwitz – Birkenau State Museum
Jan. 28 - Warsaw, Poland
Ofcial visit to the Polish Ministry of Culture and Heritage
Feb. 12 - Aventura, Florida
MOTL operational and educational meetings, and meeting of
the Board of Directors
March 10 - Skopje Bitola, Macedonia
March of the Living ceremonies, seminar and Memorial
March
March 17 - Thessaloniki, Greece
Commemoration event and public march
April 14 - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
MOTL symposium for students covering wide range of Holo-
caust-related topics
April 16 - Budapest, Hungary
March of the Living public march and ceremony
April 28 - Poland
2019 March of the Living, start of the Poland portion
May 2 - Auschwitz/Birkenau, Poland
Annual silent 3-km procession at Nazi death camp culmi-
nates Polish leg of MOTL
May 1 - Krakow, Poland
Conference on combating anti-Semitism
May 3 - Israel
2019 March of the Living, start of the Israel portion
A list of MOTL highlights from recent and upcoming months
T
his year, the International
March of the Living is, for
the fth time, specically
honoring the venerable Jewish
community of Thessaloniki,
Greece that was nearly eradi-
cated by the Nazis during the
Holocaust. MOTL will spotlight
local survivors and Righteous
Among the Nations who saved
Jews in the city and pay tribute
to the 55,000 Jews in Thessa-
loniki who the Nazis deported
to Auschwitz, where almost all
of them perished.
As part of this initiative,
MOTL has invited dignitaries
from Greece to Poland to be
special guests on May 2 to
lead the annual 3-km silent
procession at Auschwitz. These
include Greek Orthodox Patri-
arch, Bartholomew 1; the Presi-
dent of the Hellenic Parliament,
Nikos Voutsis; the head of the
country’s Jewish community,
David Shaltiel and a delegation
of Greek Jews.
Recently, Aharon Tamir,
Deputy World Chairman of the
International MOTL, repre-
sented the organization at a
commemorative ceremony in
Thessaloniki, also known as
Solonika, where he was one of
the speakers. In mid-March,
thousands of people, mostly
non-Jews, marched from the
Thessaloniki in the Spotlight
MOTL pays tribute to Greek city’s doomed Jewish community,
decimated by the Nazis. By ROBERT SARNER
Holocaust memorial monument
in the city center to the railway
station where Jews were deport-
ed in the spring and summer of
1943, almost all never to return.
MOTL has been a full partner
in Thessaloniki’s annual com-
memorative events since they
began ve years ago.
In addition to focusing on
the tragedy of the Holocaust,
MOTL also spotlights Jew-
ish life in Europe before the
Nazis began their anti-Semitic
persecution in the 1930s. The
Jewish community in Greece is
one of the oldest in the world.
When World War II began, the
country was home to 80,000
Jews, most of whom lived in
Thessaloniki. The city, once
known as the ‘Jerusalem of the
Balkans,’ had an extremely rich
Jewish, predominantly Se-
phardic, heritage.
In April 1941, the Ger-
mans occupied Greece. In
March 1943, after the Nazis had
conned local Jews to ghettos,
they began deporting Jews to
Auschwitz by train. By the time
the last shipment left the city
six months later, the Jewish
community had been virtually
eliminated.
Today, some 5,000 Jews
live in Greece, including 1,400
in Thessaloniki.
4
Light of Cooperation
A
t the invitation of Polish
president Andrzej Duda,
the International March
of the Living took part in the
lighting of Chanukah candles
at the Presidential Palace in
Warsaw in December. It reects
the ongoing close cooperation
between MOTL and Polish
ofcial institutions, government
ministries and national organi-
zations, including the Chancel-
lery of the Polish President and
presidential advisors. During
the 2018 March of the Living
Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Re-
membrance Day) Ceremony at
Auschwitz-Birkenau, President
Duda was a keynote speaker
along with his Israeli counter-
part, Reuven Rivlin.
First initiated several years
ago, the Chanukah candle-light-
ing ceremony at the Presidential
Palace has now become an
annual tradition. Polands pres-
ident and First Lady host the
event to which they invite Jew-
ish organizations and leaders of
the Polish Jewish community.
As part of the ceremo-
ny, Aharon (Aharale) Tamir,
Deputy Chairman of Interna-
tional March of the Living,
presented to President Duda
and First Lady, Agata Korn-
hauser-Duda, an album of the
president’s participation at the
2018 MOTL along with a copy
of the Polish edition of the
MOTL book, Witness: Passing
the Torch of Holocaust Memory
to New Generations, which was
launched in Poland.
March of the Living hosts alumni and friends, including a Knesset Member, at Tel Aviv event
Coming Together at Reception in Israel
In sign of warm relations, Polish president invites March of
the Living to Chanukah candle-lighting ceremony in Warsaw
L
ast fall, on the rst evening
of the Jewish Federations
of North America General
Assembly taking place in Israel,
March of the Living hosted
a reception for alumni and
friends in Tel Aviv. It proved
a wonderful opportunity for a
diverse group of people from
all over Israel, the United States
and Canada to get together.
The event featured re-
marks from the guest of honor,
Likud MK Sharren Haskel, who
at age 34, is one of the youngest
members of the current Knes-
set. Born in Toronto, she is also
a MOTL alum.
Additional speakers
included Dr. Shmuel Rosen-
man, Chairman of the March of
the Living; Phyllis Greenberg
Heideman, President of the
March of the Living; and Jim-
my Garber, an alum of March
of the Living Mexico. MC for
the evening was Board Member
Avi Dickstein.
5
I
n just a few weeks, I will
experience something
which I expect will prove
extremely meaningful and
life-changing for me. I
will be participating in the
March of the Living with
fellow Los Angeles-based
teens. Given that my grand-
parents, Freddy and Ilse
Diament, were survivors
of notorious Nazi death
camps, the March hits
close to home for me.
Although I was only
four years old when my
grandpa Freddy passed
away, my grandma Ilse
made sure to tell both my
sister Alexandra and me
about their experiences.
Having heard this histo-
Why I feel the need to take part in the March of the Living this year. By ELIJAH COOPERMAN
MARCHER SPOTLIGHT
Far Away But Close to Home
ry through the voice and
words of a survivor, my
grandma, I know how
important it is to hear it all,
remember it all and – most
importantly – to never for-
get any of it. This is some-
thing I will pass onto my
children someday.
Every year on the
March of the Living, when
participants stand in a par-
ticular spot at Auschwitz,
they are read a story my
grandfather wrote in April
1958 about three heroes
of Auschwitz. They were
hung in that exact place
where I will soon stand
among thousands of other
teenagers. One of these
three heroes was my great
uncle, Leo Yehuda Dia-
ment. My grandpa told this
story of the three heroes of
Auschwitz to thousands of
teenagers every year when
he went on the March of
the Living as a Holocaust
survivor docent.
He was honored to
attend the March for many
years. It meant the world to
him. My mom told me he
had expressed to her that
going on this program as a
survivor, and being able to
tell his brothers story and
his own experiences, gave
him a sense of purpose in
life.
For me, being a part of
the last generation to hear
first-hand from survivors
is an experience I feel
every Jewish teenager
should have. We must bear
witness! My sister went
on the MOTL in 2015, and
she said it was the most
important and profound ex-
perience she feels she will
ever go through in her life. I
expect to come back with a
similar feeling.
For the past four years,
I’ve been privileged to at-
tend de Toledo High School
in West Hills, California.
As a graduating senior,
I’m honored to be able
to be a part of this year’s
BJE March of the Living
program. Together with my
friends from school, I will
soon embark on this mon-
umental experience during
which I will witness with
my eyes and my heart and
touch the ground where
many of my relatives per-
ished. They are all heroes
to my family and me. We
will never forget them, and
I’m honored to be named
after my grandma’s brother.
My grandparents, Freddy
and Ilse Diament, will al-
ways be my biggest heroes
in every sense of the word.
May we all “Never
forget.”
I
n June, scores of March of
the Living alumni and friends
of the organization will take
part in New York City’s annual
celebration of Israels birthday.
Building on the great suc-
cess of its participation in the
2018 event, this year’s MOTL
presence will again include a
specially designed oat for the
occasion.
The Celebrate Israel
Parade, in tribute to the Jewish
state’s 71st birthday, will take
place on June 2 on Manhattans
Taking to the Streets
March of the Living to make its presence felt again at annual New York parade in celebration of Israel
famed Fifth Avenue, travelling
north from 57th Street to 74th
Street. Held annually since
1964, it attracts tens of thou-
sands of people in what organ-
izers say is the worlds largest
regular gathering in support of
Israel.
To be part of the MOTL
contingent, advance registra-
tion, which is free, is required
at https://motl.org/israel-pa-
rade/. All participants that
register will receive a hat and
T-shi r t.
6
Leaving a Lasting Legacy
Beacon of Strength, Courage and Conviction
T
he International March of
the Living family suffered
a major loss in December
with the passing of prominent
Holocaust survivor Noah Klieg-
er. Having dedicated his adult
life to Holocaust education, he
was strongly committed to the
MOTL mission, having taken
part in the annual trip to Poland
and Israel many times.
A highly-respected sports
writer, he worked for 60 years
at Israels largest daily newspa-
per, Yedioth Ahronoth, where
his last column appeared two
days before he died at age 92 on
December 13.
Born in Strasbourg,
France in 1926, his family had
originally lived in Germany but
due to the rise of the Nazis, left
Germany for France and then
in 1938 to Belgium. Early in
World War II, after the Nazis
occupied Belgium, despite
being only 13 years old, Noah
helped found a Zionist youth
underground organization. His
group successfully smuggled
270 Jews to safety in neutral
Switzerland. He also fought in
the French Resistance.
Noah was eventually
arrested and sent to Auschwitz
where he shared barracks with
longtime friend Elie Wiesel.
He survived the death camp,
in part by claiming he was a
boxer – he wasnt – and joining
a prisoner team of boxers. He
also survived two Nazi death
marches.
After the war, he reunited
with his parents who also sur-
I
n the nal days of 2018, the
world lost the last surviving
leader of the legendary 1943
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, with
the passing of Simcha “Kazik”
Rotem. In an ofcial statement,
MOTL paid tribute to Simcha,
who died on Dec. 22 in Jerusa-
lem at the age of 94.
“Simcha Rotem’s life was
a shining beacon of strength,
courage and conviction as was
his commitment to humanity,
the MOTL statement read.
“His death represents the end
of a generation, but his legacy
will forever be remembered by
those who cherish freedom and
human dignity.
Born in Warsaw, Simcha
was a member of the city’s Jew-
ish underground during World
War II. He served as the head
courier of the Warsaw Ghettos
Jewish Fighting Organization
(or ZOB) which planned and
vived Auschwitz, and began his
career as a journalist, covering
the trials of Nazi war criminals
in Belgium, France and Ger-
many. In 1947, he boarded the
ship, Exodus, to immigrate to
pre-state Israel and soon after
volunteered for the Haganah
and fought in the War of Inde-
pendence. He later resumed his
career as a journalist, becom-
ing a prominent gure in the
profession for decades.
Noah also became a pow-
erful voice about the lessons of
the Holocaust and dangers of
anti-Semitism. To that end, he
led more than 150 delegations
to visit Auschwitz, including
heads of state, Israeli lead-
ers and youth delegations. In
September 2016, the Interna-
tional March of the Living and
the Israeli-Jewish Congress
hosted a special evening in Tel
Aviv to honor Noah on his 90th
birthday. The event included a
screening of the documentary,
Boxing for Life, about Noah’s
inspirational life story.
executed the ghettos heroic
uprising against the Nazis.
Following the war, he
moved to pre-state Israel.
In 2013, at a ceremony in
Poland to mark the 70th anni-
versary of the uprising, Simcha
recalled that by April 1943
most of the ghettos Jews had
been killed by the Nazis and the
50,000 who remained expected
the same fate. Reecting on this
harrowing chapter of his life,
he added:
“From all the tragic expe-
riences of the war and the Hol-
ocaust, there is one lesson to be
learned: that is there is nothing
more valuable than human life.
Nobody, in any situation, has
the right to take it away. To this
day, the world has not drawn
conclusions from this horrible
crime, which was done in the
very heart of Europe in the 20th
cent ury.”
With Noah Klieger’s passing, the world has lost a powerful voice about
the lessons of the Holocaust and the dangers of anti-Semitism
MOTL mourns the passing of Simcha Rotem, the last surviving leader of the historic 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
IN MEMORIAM
Noah Klieger at 2016 MOTL/Israeli Jewish Congress
event in Tel Aviv in honor of his 90th birthday
Simcha Rotem, left, at 2013
ceremony on 70th anniversary
of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
7
An Incalculable Loss
E
ach year, the March of the
Living honors those who
perished in the Holocaust
and those who survived. Since
1988, more than 300 Survivors
have shared their poignant
rst-hand experiences with
participants on the March of the
Living. Those participants have
now become the witnesses for
the witnesses.
Sadly, in each successive
year, there are increasingly less
Survivors to bear witness to
young people. Each Survivor
in his or her own way made an
impact on the lives of so many.
In this issue of the MOTL
Report, we spotlight Survivors
who died in 2018 after having
played an important role in
MOTL activities over the years.
Grieving the passing in 2018 of Survivors who
played key roles in March of the Living activities
The Proper Response
L
ast October in northern Ro-
mania, local leaders along
with Jewish and non-Jew-
ish dignitaries from around
the world gathered in Sigehtu
Marmatiei. Formerly known as
Sighet, the city is the birthplace
of Holocaust survivor, noted
author and Nobel Peace Prize
Laureate Elie Wiesel.
All came to protest and
combat rising anti-Semitism,
Holocaust denial and other
forms of racism. They also
were honoring city ofcials
for acting swiftly after an
anti-Semitic incident that made
international headlines.
Two months earlier,
vandals had defaced Wiesels
childhood home in Sigehtu
Marmatiei, spraying highly
disturbing anti-Semitic grafti
on the exterior of the building
which is now a museum de-
voted to his memory and local
Jewish culture.
The next day, municipal
authorities scrubbed clean the
anti-Semitic grafti and within
a week arrested the perpetrator
behind it.
In appreciation, Interna-
tional March of the Living,
together with the Limmud
FSU International Foundation,
organized a special event to
honor and thank Mayor Horia
Vasila Scubli and Police Chief
Gheorghe Bora for their quick
and effective response to the
anti-Jewish action.
In a public ceremony at
the targeted building, Aha-
ron Tamir, Deputy World
Chairman of March of the
Living and Haim Chesler,
Limmud Co-Founder, along
with representatives of the
city’s Jewish community and
Romanias Jewish Federation,
presented awards of apprecia-
tion to Scubli and Bora. They
also expressed support for the
community’s campaign against
anti-Semitism and commem-
orated what wouldve been
Wiesels 90th birthday.
Participants in the event,
which included local students
and teachers, also issued a
statement condemning an-
ti-Semitism, hatred and Holo-
caust denial, expressing their
commitment to ght it wherev-
er it appears.
Prior to the public cere-
mony, a conference included
an interfaith dialogue between
representatives of Romanias
religious communities and
Jewish leaders from Israel.
During World War II,
the city was part of Hungary.
In May 1944, the entire local
Jewish community of 14,000
people, including Wiesel, was
deported to Auschwitz. Today,
only about two dozen Jews live
in Sigehtu Marmatiei.
In hometown of the late Holocaust survivor and writer Elie
Wiesel, authorities show resolve to fight anti-Semitism
View the March of the Living Holocaust Survivors Database
at motl.org/survivors.
JOSEPH ECKSTEIN
Born:
April 24, 1929 in Etyek, Hungary
Died:
Oct. 14, 2018 in Boca Raton, Florida
R AY FISHLER
Born:
1925 in Krakow, Poland
Died:
Nov. 19, 2018 in Wayne, New Jersey
BILL GLIED
Born:
1930 in Subotica, Serbia
Died:
Feb. 17, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
ISA AC G OLDSTEI N
Born:
Oct. 9, 1925 in Bialystok, Poland
Died:
Oct. 9, 2018 in San Jose, California
DOROTHY GREENSTEIN
Born:
Dec. 10, 1930 in Otwock, Poland
Died:
Died: Dec.16, 2018 in LA, California
NOAH KLIEGER
Born:
July 31, 1926 in Strasbourg, France
Died:
Died: Dec. 13, 2018 in Israel
IN MEMORIAM
Mayor Horia Vasila Scubli and Police Chief Gheorghe
Bora receive certicates of appreciation
Photo: Yossi Zeliger
8
An interview with Dr. Piotr Cywinski, longtime director of the state museum at Auschwitz,
which in 2018 attracted a record 2.1 million visitors. By AHARON (AHARALE) TAMIR
The Importance of Preserving the
Authenticity of Auschwitz
S
ince its inception in 1988,
the March of the Living
has worked with the
Auschwitz-Birkenau State Mu-
seum as part of its programing.
It has always been an important
site in Poland that MOTL par-
ticipants visit given the death
camps centrality in the Holo-
caust. The visit takes place in
the framework of MOTLs main
ceremony on Yom HaShoah
(Holocaust Remembrance Day).
Over the past nearly 20
years, cooperation between
MOTL and the Museum has
grown signicantly, leading to
new initiatives and activities.
These include seminars, study
missions, courses and member-
ship in the Museum’s organiza-
tion. Its commitment to raising
awareness of the Holocaust,
and developing new horizons
in Holocaust education are of
great importance.
It’s in this framework that
the Museum long ago recog-
nized MOTL as a vital partner.
Last year, Poland’s Deputy
Prime Minister and Minister
of Culture and Polish Heritage
nominated MOTL as a member
of the Museums Council and
Management.
I am honored to represent
MOTL as a Council mem-
ber, and to share with other
members ideas gained from our
vision and experiences.
The Auschwitz-Birkenau
State Museum has become an
icon of the March and we are
moving forward to implement
goals in our mutual obligation –
Never again another Shoah!
The person most respon-
sible for the changes in the
Museums orientation and its
achievements over the past
decade is its director Dr. Piotr
Cywinski.
I rst met Dr. Cywinski
many years before he became
the Museums Director in 2006.
Our cooperation dates back to
when he was an active leader of
educational and humanitarian
organizations in Poland and
internationally.
Born in Warsaw in 1972,
Dr. Cywinski spent much of
his youth in Switzerland and
France due to his father’s polit-
ical exile. He graduated from
the University of Humanities in
Strasbourg, France in 1993 as
a historian of the Middle Ages
and the Catholic University of
Lublin in 1995. He obtained his
PhD at the Institute of Histo-
ry of the Polish Academy of
Sciences in 2001.
Dr. Cywinski, 46, is an
active participant and frequent
participant in Polish-Jewish and
Christian-Jewish dialogue. He
has received numerous awards
for his work.
This past January, after
many years of close cooper-
ation, I had the privilege of
interviewing Dr. Cywinski for
this issue of the MOTL Report.
I’m sure our alumni, partici-
pants, leaders and readers will
learn a lot from Dr. Cywinskis
answers and his attitude on
Holocaust education, remem-
brance and vision.
Q: What changes have you
introduced in the Museum since
you became Director and what
prompted them?
A: Initially, I spent a lot of
time observing the Museum,
to feel it. As previous curators,
with former prisoners among
them, treated some issues in
a certain way, I had to think
twice if I had the right to
change anything.
Quite quickly, I under-
stood that the most crucial
issues were preserving the
authenticity of the museum,
education in a changing world
and communication in a broad-
er sense. But this required a
different nancial aid than what
the Museum previously had
access to.
So, rst, we established
the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foun-
dation, whose Perpetual Fund
was built from donations of
almost 40 states and many pri-
vate donors. The fund enables
us to plan preservation work
for decades. At the same time,
it was necessary to change
the structure of revenue and
expenditures, which required
a great deal of work and better
communication.
My aim was to adapt the
Museum and Memorial to
meet the challenges of the 21st
century, which became a part
of our reality.
What are the main tasks for the
next generation as a unique
institution for remembrance?
We live in a difcult
world. The accelerating chang-
es around us are not just of a
cultural nature but pertain to
our civilization. They concern
most crucial human aspects
like spirituality, culture,
communication, technology
and even relations between the
individual and the community
in a given area.
The level of changes and
their pace make the future un-
certain. People feel stress and
anxiety which often contributes
to demagogy and populism
from politicians. Despite
COVER STORY
Dr. Piotr Cywinski addresses audience at Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum,
which was established in 1947 at the notorious Nazi death camp in Poland.
9
major educational efforts in
many countries, we still see an
increase in xenophobic, racist
and anti-Semitic attitudes. In
many places, particularism
and separatist tendencies are
gaining ground, even if clearly
these are not reasonable or well
considered alternatives for the
post-war world.
The Memorial and
remembrance of the Shoah
and concentration camps will
also evolve in that context. I
was gravely concerned about
the silence last year over the
genocide committed in Burma.
It was indeed a genocide
according to the denition by
both Rafal Lemkin and ONZ
(United Nations Association of
Polish Students). And yet al-
most the entire world remained
silent. If that reects our ability
to react to extermination, then
the methods of teaching must
be reconsidered from scratch.
The balance between education
versus remembrance… Are
these two tasks completing each
other?
Today, the Shoah is includ-
ed almost solely in teaching
within the historical curric-
ulum. That choice was made
in the 1990s when it seemed
the most important issue was
the threat of Holocaust denial.
Incorporating the Shoah into
history classes involved more
of a chronological approach to
the subject.
Today, I wouldnt say
we tackled the issue of denial
and relativisation once and for
all. Having not drawn certain
conclusions from teaching the
tragedy of Auschwitz makes us
reect on the idea of teaching
about the Holocaust. It should
be also included in other school
courses more related to our im-
agination of today’s world like
ethics, religion, social sciences,
and mass-media.
Otherwise, there’s a risk
that while we empathize with
the victims from more than 75
years ago and rail against the
world that didn’t react properly
then, we may become bystand-
ers ourselves. And considering
today’s conditions (peace, op-
portunities to travel, economic
conditions, and information and
communication technology)
we can offend not only today’s
victims, but also the memory of
victims from 75 years ago.
In light of the above, what
should be added to the Museum
to keep its values?
We are all today in an un-
certain era. However, the most
crucial priority for the Museum
is to save it from politicization,
from populist inuences and
from any morbid conicts of
remembrance.
Just as Auschwitz should
not be used for politics, politics
should not interfere in the area
of remembrance. Otherwise,
it will bring a situation that
would be morally unbearable,
whose victims would be used
for particular purposes, and the
message of the Memorial and
history of its victims – Jews,
Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners
of war, almost everyone –
would become distorted.
After 30 years of cooperation
with International March of
The Living, how should we pro-
ceed to strengthen our mutual
cooperation?
There’s so much that has
already been done. The last
two decades were a period of
overcoming many barriers.
Nevertheless, I’m wondering
if the huge potential of MOTL
alumni could be even more
revealed and brought to light.
These are hundreds of thou-
sands of people who saw and
understood so much, who cer-
tainly feel responsible not only
for carrying on remembrance,
but also for moral obligation,
which stems from awareness of
the Shoah.
I‘m sure that, among oth-
ers, this great human potential
can be used to build a whole net
of cultural diplomacy, of aware
and committed people who
wouldn’t remain passive but
would care about the quality
of the awareness and sense of
responsibility of their own so-
cieties about what is happening
around us.
The March of the Living
is not happening only on Yom
HaShoah. This day is the be-
ginning of everyday efforts, the
arduous march of all those who
decided to join it.
COVER STORY
The World Must Come to its Senses
E
arlier this year, Dr. Piotr Cywinski wrote Aharon (Aharale)
Tamir about plans for events in 2020 in connection with the
milestone anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Herewith an
excerpt from the letter:
“In less than a year, on January 27, 2020, we will meet again
with those who survived Auschwitz and the hell of the Shoah still
present amongst us. On the 75th anniversary of the liberation of
the largest of the camps, we will recall the tragedy and suffering
of the victims. However, this memory will be all the more bitter
as it will take place in the context of the world we are creating
today
Let us stand together on January 27, 2020 to reflect on
ourselves, on a world that must come to its senses, as this today
seems to be the sense of the [Auschwitz] Memorial.”
10
AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU STATE MUSEUM
Preservation of brick barracks is one of the most complex
preservation projects at the Auschwitz Memorial
At work in the highly modern conservation laboratory that
preserves the authenticity of everything on view at Auschwitz
The Memorial preserves more than 110,000
shoes that belonged to Auschwitz victims
Guide gives group tour of the complex where Nazis killed
more than 1.1 million people (most of whom were Jews)
Using the pioneering method to remove adhesive tapes
from documents using organogels and hydrogels
Some of the objects found in 1967 during archaeological
search at the ruins of the gas chamber and crematorium
11
AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU STATE MUSEUM
The site of the former Auschwitz I camp
Working on the conservation of one of the 38,000 suit-
cases in the collection of the Auschwitz Memorial
The oldest part of the former Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp, sector
BIIb. Two historical barracks are preserved inside the white tents
A specialist works on the conservation of a suitcase
Preserving a vast array of spoons
that prisoners used 75 years ago
The Auschwitz Memorial Archives
contains more than 250 linear
meters of historical documents
Precision scanning of archival camp documents
12
Passing the Torch
Special ceremony held at Polin Museum to launch Polish edition of Witness
L
ast November in Warsaw,
as part of the commemora-
tion of the 30th anniversary
of the March of the Living, the
organization helped launch
the Polish edition of Witness:
Passing the Torch of Holocaust
Memory to New Generations.
Among those taking part in
the event at the Polin Museum
of the History of Polish Jews,
were Aharon (Aharale) Tamir,
MOTLs Deputy Chairman; Eli
Rubinstein, National Director
of MOTL Canada, who com-
piled the book’s content; and
Dr. Piotr Cywiński, Director of
the Auschwitz-Birkenau State
Museum; Prof. Dariusz Stola,
Director of the Polin Museum;
and Marian Turski, Deputy
Chairperson of the Jewish Insti-
tute in Poland.
Originally published in
English, the book’s most impor-
tant testimonies are from Holo-
caust survivors, most of whom
are originally from Poland, and
from students who joined them
during the March. A section is
devoted to people who resisted
the Nazi tyranny, including
the legendary Janusz Korczak,
the Polish Jewish educator and
children’s author, and Polish
gentiles (Righteous Among the
Nations) who risked their lives
to save Jews from the Nazis.
In his opening remarks
at the event, Eli Rubinstein
thanked all those who helped
make the publishing of Witness
in Polish possible. He paid
special tribute to his longtime
friend, Malgorzata Dzieduszy-
cha, with whom he has worked
closely for nearly 20 years on
improving Polish-Jewish rela-
tions, and who translated the
book into Polish. He expressed
his gratitude to the Polin Mu-
seum for its constantly positive
attitude and generous cooper-
ation with projects initiated by
MOTL.
Aharon Tamir, MOTLs
main contact person with Polin
Museum, delivered a speech
in which he spoke very highly
about the cooperation, support
and unique relations between
the two organizations. He cited
educational initiatives such as
seminars, workshops, exhibits
and visits as examples.
Earlier this year, Witness
was also published in Hebrew
and Spanish.
CALLING ALL ALUMNI
Join a growing community
YOU
are one of more than 250,000 participants who
have marched on the same 3-kilometer path from Auschwitz
to Birkenau on Holocaust Remembrance Day
YOU
are a part of remembering our past to ensure our future.
YOU
and your perspective are important to the March of the Living.
Please visit motl.org/alumni to join the International MOTL Alumni Network to
receive updates about alumni activities. Share your March of the Living experience
with our global community and inspire future participants at motl.org/share.
What was the most memorable moment of the March for you?
How were you impacted by the overall experience?
Browse our selection of Alumni Reflections at motl.org/alumni/reflections
13
TAL EDELSTEIN writes that the March of the Living made a lasting impact on him,
especially of the importance of not looking away when faced with gross injustice
Taking a Stand for What’s Right
ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT
W
hen I often think about
the March of the Living
I went on in 2014 as a
high school senior, it feels like
it was yesterday. Maybe it’s
because two weeks in a row
dont go by that I’m not talking
with someone about the trip or
having a memory from it cross
my mind.
I’ll think about the endless
tears I cried in the Polish vil-
lage of Zbylitowska Gora, and
the feeling of bliss a few days
later as our El Al plane ew
over Israels beaches. Often as I
say the Amidah, I’m taken back
to the Amidah I said at the back
of Birkenau, standing next to a
destroyed crematorium as hun-
dreds of young Jewish students
streamed out the gates of the
infamous concentration camp.
I sometimes think about
the vividness of Majdanek, the
surrealness of the barrack with
the walls of shoes and mound of
ashes at the back of the camp,
juxtaposed with the untem-
pered exuberance of thousands
of proud Jews the next week
dancing through the streets of
Jerusalem on their way to the
Western Wall.
Whenever people ask me
if they should go on this trip,
whether the person is a high
school junior or an adult, I
always say the same thing and
their responses rarely vary.
What I say is a line from the
rst info session I went to
for the March of the Living
when Monise Neumann said,
“There’s nothing more powerful
for a Jew than to walk out of
the gates of Auschwitz and into
the gates of Jerusalem for the
6,000,000 who couldnt.” The
response I invariably receive is,
“I have to go.” Yes, you really
do.
To say that the March of
the Living experience had an
impact on me would be a gross
understatement. Not only do
images of the moments cited
above follow me years later, but
I instantly became a much more
outspoken advocate for the Jew-
ish people and for Israel. Within
a span of just two weeks, I saw
the horrors of our past and the
glory of our present and future.
It’s hard not to be changed by
that.
At my undergraduate uni-
versity, California Polytechic
State University, I started two
different Israel-related organ-
izations. I was Chabad presi-
dent, I was an active member of
Hillel and of my Jewish frater-
nity, AEPi, all while watching
the Jewish community there
become stronger.
Today, I work at Hillel at
the University of Pennsylva-
nia, supporting the multitude
of pro-Israel organizations
and their student leaders. I’ve
constantly sought to ensure
the continuity of my beautiful
Jewish community, knowing
full well what can happen if
we all decide to just let go and
“let someone else take care of
it.” This commitment was, in
large part, spurred by those two
weeks on MOTL in 2014.
Last spring, I had the
immense pleasure of stafng
the same trip from Los Angeles
to Poland and Israel that I was a
part of four years earlier. Expe-
riencing it all for a second time,
through the eyes of these bright
students, and with the added
perspective I had gained over
the intervening years working
for and with my Jewish commu-
nity, was highly powerful.
Most poignant was seeing
the light bulb go off in the
minds of the students on the
trip, as they, too, understood
the horrors of what can happen
when you dont take a stand
for what’s right. Like I did, I’m
sure the students I accompanied
last year will make an impact in
their respective communities.
That’s the power of the March
of the Living.
14
A Void in Need of Filling
I
n the spring of 2018, after
the March of the Living
reported that two-thirds of
universities and colleges in
the United States don’t offer
a course in Holocaust studies,
the March of the Living/George
Washington University Faculty
Fellow Program was launched,
directed by Ilana Weltman at
GW. I designed and developed
it to engage more universities in
Holocaust education.
This past year alone, we
witnessed extensive need for
Holocaust education, as the US
suffered the most murderous
attack in its history on one of
its Jewish communities. At the
same time, the Anti-Defama-
tion League (ADL) reported a
signicant increase in anti-Se-
mitic incidents in the US.
In 2014, the ADL con-
ducted a comprehensive global
study which found that only 54
percent of those polled had ever
heard of the Holocaust. More
than half of those 54 percent
said the Holocaust was either
greatly exaggerated or had
never even occurred.
As the pilot year of the
MOTL/George Washington
University program wraps up,
students at participating univer-
sities will see new Holocaust
courses offered. The programs
rst year included the recruit-
ment of professors from Liberty
University, Utah State Univer-
sity, George Mason University,
Rutgers University, George
Washington University and the
University of Akron. None had
offered a Holocaust course at
the colleges they represent.
Last summer, the pilot
fellowship began in Washing-
ton with an intensive one-week
program during which profes-
sors engaged with educators,
scholars and professionals to
learn pedagogy, facts and new
trends in Holocaust education.
The educators included many
Addressing the lack of Holocaust studies in many American universities, March of
the Living launches two higher education programs. By DR. DAVID MACHLIS
scholars from the nearby Unit-
ed States Holocaust Memorial
Museum; Chief Academic Of-
cer of the program, Professor
Steven Katz of Boston Univer-
sity; Professor Sarah Horowitz
of York University and Profes-
sor Peter Hayes of Northwest-
ern University, among others.
The Faculty Fellows then spent
a week in Poland where they
engaged with Holocaust sites
and fully understood the impact
Holocaust education can have
by experiencing it rst-hand.
“Traveling to Germany
and Poland was an impor-
tant experience,” says Mark
Helmsing, a professor in the
original Faculty Fellows cohort
of professors from George
Mason University. “It allowed
me to see in person historical
sites, centers and programs
that deeply impressed on me
the signicance of strengthen-
ing and supporting Holocaust
education in the United States
and globally.
Brad Maguth, professor
of education at the University
of Akron, also found himself
teaching at a university with no
Holocaust education.
As a result of this expe-
rience, I feel extremely well
prepared to plan and teach a
Holocaust course, the rst ever
at my university,” says Prof.
Maguth. “This program has
armed me with the necessary
experiences, content knowledge
and networks to best reach
my students in teaching this
difcult topic. Without this
funded fellowship, my teaching
a Holocaust course wouldnt
have been possible.
David Snead, a professor
at Liberty University and a
graduated Fellow who partic-
ipated in the Faculty Fellows
program, felt the trip was
extremely important.
“Classes on the Holocaust
need to be taught on every cam-
pus,” says Prof. Snead. “In my
view, the March of the Living is
an excellent vehicle for prepar-
ing educators to do so.
MOTL plans to contin-
ue building this program and
expand the cohort of professors
in the coming year. To develop
Holocaust education, inno-
vative programs must target
schools not offering a course,
with an in-service model, such
as the GWU Faculty Fellow
Program, created with GWU’s
Graduate School of Education
and Human Development and
directed by Ilana Weltman.
The educational impact
from this rst year alone will
reach hundreds of college
students. At George Mason
University, Prof. Mark Helms-
ing’s new Holocaust education
course will now be a require-
ment for all Master’s of Social
Studies Education students.
In its ongoing efforts to ac-
cess new audiences, in particu-
lar those with educational inu-
ence, MOTL recently launched
a program for university deans
of schools of education. Coordi-
nated in partnership with the
Miller Center for Community
Protection and Resilience at
Rutgers University, the 2019
inaugural program will host 12
deans who will benet from a
specially coordinated itinerary
in Poland coinciding with the
main March of the Living.
The goal of the initiative,
which I developed, is to allow
educators to better understand
the need for innovative Hol-
ocaust education. The Miller
Center, under the direction of
John Farmer, himself a Dean
of the Rutgers Law School and
former Attorney General of
New Jersey, is involved with
numerous efforts with MOTL
focused on this goal. The 2019
inaugural Deans Mission will
also include education sympo-
sia in both the US and Poland,
featuring some of the academ-
ic worlds leading Holocaust
scholars including Professor
Steven Katz of Boston Univer-
sity, who will be the programs
Scholar in Residence.
15
Many of those who’ve been on MOTL will play a vital role in the leadership of the Jewish people. By AVI DICKSTEIN
The Importance of Keeping Alumni Connected
I
n recent years, the alarm-
ing rise in anti-Semitism
throughout the globe has
underscored the ongoing
relevance of the March of the
Living. Created with the vision
of ‘Never Forget,’ MOTL en-
courages Jewish teens world-
wide to remember the deleteri-
ous repercussions of hate and
anti-Semitism from our past, to
ensure we have a better future.
Over its 30 years of oper-
ation, MOTL has become the
world’s most preeminent Holo-
caust education program, with
some 275,000 people having
participated in the project. Its
inuence is tangible – students
return with a greater commit-
ment to Israel, to remembering
the Holocaust, to strengthening
their Jewish identity and prac-
tice, and to becoming involved
in their local Jewish commu-
nities.
MOTL alumni have also
made important social con-
tributions to the community
at large, such as assisting the
homeless, combating the
continuing genocide in Darfur,
volunteering at home or abroad
in worthy humanitarian efforts,
and working diligently to
combat prejudice and hatred of
every kind.
MOTL believes we have –
and will continue to have – an
impact on future leaders of the
Jewish people. In 1988, one of
the founders of the organization
spoke about his vision of the
day when a half-million Jews
around the world would speak
the language of MOTL. Were
thrilled weve now already
made it more than half-way to
this goal and have no intention
of slowing down.
Over the last year, weve
made great strides in furthering
our mission to create a more
involved alumni network. We
have held a number of alumni
events worldwide, including
in the United States, Canada,
Mexico, Argentina, England
and Germany. In late March,
we hosted a special event in
Jerusalem for our many alumni
studying and living in Israel.
Last June, MOTL alumni
participated in the Salute to
Israel Parade in New York City,
marching with a fabulously out-
tted March of the Living oat,
the rst of its kind. We will
participate again in this year’s
Parade and are looking forward
to hosting an Alumni Brunch
prior to kickoff.
In October, the General
Assembly of North America
took place in Tel Aviv for the
rst time. MOTL hosted a
special reception at the Carlton
Hotel for all alumni attending
the GA. More than 50 alumni
participated and were treated
to an elaborate dessert buffet,
hearing from MK Sharren
Haskel, herself a MOTL alum,
and a musical reception.
In February, we hosted a
special alumni dessert reception
in Aventura, Florida, for alumni
in the South Florida area. Spe-
RAISE YOUR VOICE
Please speak up.
The March of the Living Report wants to hear from you so we can feature
a selection of letters and comments starting with the next issue.
Let us know your reaction to the March of the Living Report
or to any recent related issues.
Please send your correspondence to:
The March of the Living Report
Attention: Editor-in-Chief
2 West 45th Street, Suite 1500
New York, New York, USA 10036. Or motl@motlmail.org
cial thanks to Rochelle Baltuch,
Amy Wildstein, Jack Rosen-
baum, Roneet Edrich, Shoshana
Brownstein and Carly Orshan
for their assistance with this
event.
It’s our duty to continue
to develop alumni activities in
each region around the globe,
as the day will soon come when
MOTL alumni represent the
leadership of the Jewish world
and the torch of ‘Never Again
will fall on their shoulders.
MOTLs alumni network is a
powerful force that can – and
will – make positive and signif-
icant change.
- Avi Dickstein is a member of
the MOTL Board of Directors
16
MOTL co-hosts evening in Jerusalem in tribute to Justice Gabriel Bach, Deputy Prosecutor
in the historic 1961 trial of arch-Nazi Adolf Eichmann. By DR. DAVID MACHLIS
M
ore than 55 years after
the guilty verdict was
issued, the trial of Adolf
Eichmann remains a key mo-
ment of justice condemning the
Nazi destruction of European
Jewry. Culminating the dra-
matic capture of the arch-Nazi
outside his home in Argentina
and the clandestine effort to
bring him in front of a court
in the young Jewish state, the
story has captivated the world
ever since.
While few of the trial’s
main players are alive today,
Gabriel Bach, who served as a
Deputy Prosecutor in the trial,
continues to tell the story of
that remarkable time. In so do-
ing, he’s become a voice for the
place of justice and legal pro-
cedure, even in prosecuting the
worst criminals in history. For
his professional legacy, which
includes sitting on Israels
Supreme Court, Justice Bach
was honored at the 2018 Paul S.
Miller Distinguished Lecture
at Jerusalems Begin Heritage
Center in late December.
The event was hosted by
the Miller Center for Commu-
nity Protection and Resilience
of Rutgers University and the
International March of the
Living. Chaired by Richard
Heideman and Professor John
Farmer, the evening featured a
conversation with Justice Bach
followed by a distinguished
panel of experts discussing how
to protect and strengthen vul-
nerable communities worldwide
– the key focus of the Miller
Centers work.
Paul Miller, who founded
the Miller Center, opened the
program saying, “Communities
around the globe are under at-
tack and saying ‘Never again,
praying for it to cease and
talking about the lessons are
not enough. The time for action
is now.
With that mission state-
ment, he outlined how the
Center that bears his family’s
name is actively working with
law enforcement in relevant
communities around the world
to better address the growing
threats from extremism and
intolerance that target people
of all faiths and backgrounds.
He said the recently launched
partnership with the Interna-
tional March of the Living is
intended to “remind the world
of the horrors of the past, lest
we repeat them tomorrow.
MOTL Chair, Dr. Shmuel
Rosenman, then thanked the
Miller Center for its support
saying, “Your mission ts
perfectly with ours, to teach the
roots of evil, hatred, intolerance
and racism in order to build a
better future for all mankind.
The conversation with
Justice Bach was moderated by
Richard Heideman, himself an
accomplished and renowned
international attorney, who
has been involved in numerous
high-prole cases. Richard is
also a close friend of MOTL
and together with his wife,
Phyllis Greenberg Heideman,
MOTL President, they’ve pro-
moted the March’s mission at
the highest levels. In introduc-
ing Justice Bach, Richard cited
his “commitment to building a
better path forward for the Jew-
ish people and for all people.
Standing before a rap-
tured audience, Justice Bach
spoke with eloquence for more
than 45 minutes, recounting
his personal trials as a refu-
gee from Nazi Germany and
how that impacted his role in
the epic trial of Eichmann. In
the months leading up to it,
Bach spent many hours alone
with the notorious Nazi in his
cell. Those meetings helped
establish the conclusion that the
evil Eichmann perpetrated was
motivated by personal hatred
and a desire to kill Jews rather
than ‘simply following orders’
as many Nazi leaders tried to
contend.
I was then honored – in
my role as Vice-Chair of the
International MOTL, and
having designed the program of
the evening – to present Justice
Bach with an award in recog-
nition of his lifetime’s work in
pursuit of justice.
In my presentation, I said
the work of the Miller Center
and MOTL are more critical
than ever in the face of growing
global anti-Semitism, hatred
and intolerance. Referencing
numerous studies of ignorance
and apathy among the worlds
younger generations vis-à-vis
the Holocaust, I commended
the Miller Center for adopting
the mantra that “Remembrance
is the key to prevention” in
their work and in their partner-
ship with MOTL.
The recent rise in an-
ti-Semitism was the focus of
Prosecuting Evil
17
the nal portion of the Jeru-
salem program, moderated
by Professor John Farmer,
Executive Director of the Mill-
er Center and a former Attor-
ney General for New Jersey.
He chaired the panel of three
leading experts in contempo-
rary justice and public affairs
in discussing how society today
can best protect and strengthen
vulnerable communities around
the world.
Stephan Kramer, former
Secretary General of the Cen-
tral Council of Jews in Germa-
ny, said “while we dont have
state-organized anti-Semitism,
at least not at the moment, we
can’t make any mistake. There
are groups giving us a taste of
anti-Semitism of years past.
Irit Kohn, past President of
the International Association of
Jewish Lawyers, spoke of the
critical nature of both educating
and advocating in areas where
anti-Semitism is beginning
to take hold because this is a
process which takes time.
Elie Honig, Executive
Director of the Rutgers Institute
for Secure Communities and a
former Assistant United States
Attorney, said all enforcement
efforts must be carried out
within the rule of law. Citing
Justice Bach as an example, he
saluted how the trial afforded
rights under the law to Eich-
mann who was “the worst
war criminal we could ever
imagine, but if we abandon the
rule of law then our efforts will
lose their very legitimacy.
Prof. Farmer, who also
served as Senior Counsel to
the 9/11 Commission, closed
the evening stating, “What
was murdered in 9/11 and the
Holocaust was incalculable
human potential. We have to
have the moral courage to seek
justice and do the right thing
even when it’s inconvenient
and difcult and Justice Bach is
the very best exemplar of those
ideals.
T
he pace of change in
the world is relentless
and with it comes new
challenges and uncertainties –
not least for our young people.
Jewish students are experienc-
ing the rise of anti-Semitism,
making life very difcult for
them on campuses throughout
the UK. Consequently, Jewish
identity is under threat, with
many young people nding it
increasingly difcult to publicly
display their Jewishness in the
face of racism, intolerance and
hatred. It’s only through educa-
tion that change can occur.
Learning the lessons from
the Holocaust – specically
through the experience gained
from the March of the Living
– has proven to be particularly
formative for students grap-
pling with these issues on a
daily basis. We have been visit-
ing university campuses across
the UK to engage with students
about the importance of making
the journey to Poland.
Alongside this, we were
pleased to partner with the
Limmud festival in December,
which attracted 2,500 attend-
ees. We had a March of the
Living Day with Survivor Mala
Tribich. Mala gave her moving
testimony to a packed room and
then hosted a lovely afternoon
tea for people to drop in and
discuss the upcoming trip.
We were delighted that
our Alumni from last year
initiated the creation of a young
events committee with the aim
of raising awareness about the
trip, educating their peers and
fundraising. They are creating
a series of engaging events for
the community.
We are also busy launch-
ing two new initiatives for
this year’s trip. The rst is a
training course to become an
educator on the program. It’s
imperative that we enable the
next generation to become
Holocaust educators. The
second is that we are bringing a
group of multi-faith leaders on
this year’s MOTL. It’s impor-
tant that we engage with other
religions in this area.
Lastly, I feel privileged
to be the rst CEO for MOTL
UK. It’s a huge honour to hold
this position for such a vital
organization, on behalf of
which I’m looking forward to
expanding the important work
that we do.
- Cassie Matus is CEO of
March of the Living UK
UNITED KINGDOM:
REGIONAL FOCUS
Two New Initiatives
18
MEXICO: This Year’s Theme: For them… For Us
I
n Mexico, the March of the
Living Project began almost
30 years ago when our cur-
rent President Moishe Punsky
motivated a small group of
Mexicans to participate in
MOTL as a delegation. Today,
almost 5,500 Mexicans, repre-
senting more than 13% of the
country’s Jewish community,
are connected to this initiative.
March of the Living is
much more than a trip or a one-
time experience. It becomes a
milestone in the life of partic-
ipants, marking a difference
between life before and life
after the March.
To make it happen every
year, Mexico has a large group
of hard-working volunteers.
Central to its success, a com-
mittee of dedicated members
oversee the necessary areas
such as fundraising, nancial
support, administration, alum-
ni, social media and web page
creation.
As these volunteers previ-
ously attended MOTL, they’re
highly committed to the pro-
ject. Their support is essential
to ensuring that every year the
Mexican delegation is extrem-
ley motivated in participating
in the project. Their impact
extends beyond the Jewish
community as in recent years
they’ve also attracted the par-
ticipation of non-Jewish groups
in the March.
In Mexico, there are two
types of projects for MOTL
based on the age of partici-
pants. Each takes place every
two years. One is designed
for upper school and college
students. For this group, the
“Madrichim” (guides) have to
be between 30 and 40 years
old and have previous experi-
ence in “Hadracha” (guidance/
leadership training) and group
management. This helps with
students easily bonding with
their leaders.
There’s a similar prepa-
ration for the second group,
despite it being comprised of
adults. The process has similar
objectives although the infor-
mation is adapted to better t
the interests, age and needs of
participants.
The team behind the
March of the Living Project
includes numerous people
who return every year. These
include a Mexican Holocaust
survivor, a rabbi, “Madrichim,”
doctors, psychologists, school
teachers and photo and video
specialists. The president and
coordinators of the MOTL
Project for Youth are chosen
from the previous March for
the Youth, favoring Madrichim
who rose to the occasion last
time.
All staff go through a
rigorous training process. It
involves around 30 sessions,
each with different activi-
ties, lectures and a weekend
seminar. Staff members work
on improving their skills in dif-
ferent areas to ensure the best
experience for participants. To
achieve the project’s goals for
youth, every two years experi-
enced Madrichim participate in
a process involving psychologi-
cal tests, interviews and special
assessments to better prepare
them to guide a delegation.
Ultimately, after many
months of preparation and
reviewing hundreds of appli-
cations, MOTL staff select 16
- 18 Madrichim who have the
honor of preparing a group of
young people for the March.
The Madrichim are divided
into groups of two or three and
assigned a specic group. They
work together for almost eight
months, conducting 20 or more
sessions of activities according
to a specic program which
covers different subjects in or-
der to better prepare each par-
ticipant to ensure they get the
most out of this experience. For
the adults going on the March,
current and former presidents
of MOTL and experienced pre-
vious youth Madrichim work
with them in the months before
the trip.
As the March approaches,
staff organize activities which
focus on logistics and other
practical aspects for the trip
and help Madrichim create a
bond with their student partic-
ipants. There’s also a special
weekend seminar designed for
the entire delegation which
offers different activities over
the two days.
This year, Mexicos MOTL
staff committee has chosen a
phrase – “For them... for us” –
as a theme statement. It has a
special meaning for the 2019
March of the Living delegation
because this time it’s marching
for the victims, the survivors,
future generations, and also for
March participants to become
better people, better parents,
better sons and daughters, bet-
ter leaders and better examples.
One could say “the March
lives on,” or, as otherwise ex-
pressed in Spanish, “La Marcha
continua.”
- Elias Dana
REGIONAL FOCUS
19
BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA: MOTL Growing Every Year
T
he March of the Living,
the most well-known
experiential program in
Broward County, Florida, is
growing each year. Having our
beginnings with Miami-Dade
County and what is now the
Southern Region, Broward
County has grown and has
been “independent” since 2004.
Our students come from both
the public and private sector,
Jewish schools and secular. We
enjoy tremendous nancial and
professional support from the
Jewish Federation of Broward
Cou nty.
I was part of the staff of
the rst MOTL in 1988 and
never looked back. Both on
and off the job, it’s on my
mind. Whether it’s recruit-
ment, interviews, fundraising
or curriculum, the March is
always front and center. As the
most talked about program in
our high schools, students look
forward to participating in it
when they’re eligible.
We strive to make it pos-
sible for any eligible student to
take part in MOTL, and appre-
ciate the much-needed nancial
assistance we receive from our
Federation, the Jewish Commu-
nity Foundation, the Friends of
the March of the Living and our
many individual donors.
Broward County bnei
mitzvah also receive a gift
certicate toward their future
participation through the gener-
osity of the Lipson Family and
the Elaine Jamie Lipson Bar/
Bat Mitzvah Program, raising
awareness of Jewish genetic
diseases. The International
March of the Living has been
helpful on the nancial side
with challenge grants to help
make the March more afforda-
ble.
Each year, we begin our
recruitment the moment we
return from the March. Our
students speak in their classes
at schools; in their synagogues;
at our Federation and other
agencies and organizations
throughout our community.
They are so successful that
enrollment is almost completed
by mid-August and a waiting
list begins. In recent years, due
to growing interest from par-
ents and other adults, we began
taking adult groups. We strive
for touch points during the
program for both the teens and
adults to share experiences.
Our students commit to at-
tending weekly seminars from
January to March to increase
their knowledge of the Holo-
caust; to better understand what
Jewish life was before, during
and after the Holocaust; to
learn about the places we will
visit; to meet our survivors and
begin to get to know each other.
Our staff, who pay a
reduced fee to participate (and
work very hard) help make the
seminars informative, interac-
tive and experiential following
the lessons created by our edu-
cation coordinator and commit-
tee. While in Poland, students
participate in activities to make
their visits more meaningful.
The impact of seeing 10,000+
individuals gather at Birkenau
after walking the three kilo-
meters from Auschwitz will
forever remain an indelible
memory.
Traveling on to Israel is a
wonderful culmination of our
journey. Visiting sites, enjoying
the waters of the Mediterranean
and the Dead Sea; praying at
the Kotel; paying our respects
at Har Herzl and participating
in the Jerusalem March and
REGIONAL FOCUS
Main Event are an incredible
way to end our trip.
Broward County prides
itself in keeping in touch with
our Alumni. We produce a
newsletter three to four times
a year which has information
on the current March; life
cycle events, the good as well
as the condolences; updates
from Marchers on graduations,
new jobs or businesses. Lots of
pictures as well. We are still lo-
cating many of our alumni who
have changed email addresses
or moved away.
In addition, we are seeking
our 1988 alumni and present-
ing them with a special 30th
anniversary gift. If you are
reading this and we havent yet
found you, give us a call. Our
alumni continue their rela-
tionships with our survivors,
calling them, and taking them
to lunch or dinner when home
from school.
Wearing their jackets on
college campus brings together
individuals who had a shared
experience. The lessons learned
on the March stay with partici-
pants forever. Together they can
make a difference and stand up
for what they believe is right
when issues arise on campus.
Friendships are made which
last forever. After graduation,
our Alumni have become
involved with national and local
Jewish organizations, serving
in professional and leadership
capacities. Their life choices
are often credited with having
been formed by their participa-
tion on the March of the Living
The March has made
a lasting impact on all our
participants. Students and
adults alike return with a better
understanding of the Holocaust
and a greater sense of Jewish
identity and pride.
- Rochelle Baltuch is Director
of March of the Living in
Broward County, Florida
20
GALLERY
Telling the Story Around the World
Snapshots of interesting moments in the life of Holocaust education and rememberance near and far
Worthy of celebration: Members of
Toronto’s Jewish community recently
honored Holocaust Survivor and local
resident Max Eisen on his 90th birth-
day. At a special evening at the Beth
Shalom Synagogue, they celebrated
his life and paid tribute to his three
decades of dedication to the cause
of Holocaust education. Eisen’s mem-
oirs, By Chance Alone, is currently on
Canada’s bestseller lists and recently
won the 2019 Canada Reads battle of
the books competition.
UN diplomats focus on the Holocaust: In late January, Ambassadors to the
United Nations from dozens of countries went to Poland as part of the Holo-
caust Remembrance Program. After visiting sites connected to the Nazi geno-
cide of European Jews, they then traveled to Israel to learn about the Jewish
state. Initiated by the International MOTL and American Zionist Movement, the
mission followed the rst-ever such trip last spring when UN Ambassadors
took part in the March of the Living in Poland and then visited Israel.
Connecting in southern Florida: In February, MOTL hosted a special recep-
tion in Aventura, Florida for alumni from the region. More than 80 alumni joined
MOTL International Group Leaders who were there for the organization’s
bi-annual Educational Seminar. Among the topics on the agenda: Exploring
ways to further develop alumni-related initiatives.
Nazi trial makes for powerful real-life lm. The acclaimed documentary, The
Accountant of Auschwitz, which has been shown on TV and at lm festivals
around the world in recent months has a strong connection to the March of
the Living. Focusing on the 2015 trial in Germany of former Nazi SS guard
and accountant Oskar Groning in connection with the murder of 300,000
Jews at Auschwitz in 1944, the lm was made by Canadian director Matthew
Shoychet. He became involved in Holocaust education after going on MOTL in
2013 and again in 2015 as a chaperone. Three of the four survivors featured in
the lm are MOTL educators..
MOTL on the small screen: Dana Arschin is an American TV reporter at Fox 5
in New York who took part in last year’s March of the Living. She had a strong
personal connection to the subject. Her grandfather miraculously survived two
years at Auschwitz while other relatives were less fortunate. Learning more
about her ancestors who were murdered by the Nazis, Dana lmed material
during her MOTL trip which she later developed into a series of poignant
personal reports that were broadcast in recent months on Fox 5.
PLEASE… AND THANK YOU
Donor support helps International March of the Living continue its
vital work teaching Holocaust history to people around the world
while strengthening Jewish identity and connections to Israel.
Please consider making a donation to International March of the Living,
a non-profit charity organization. All contributions are deductible to the fullest
extent of applicable tax law. (Our Tax ID is #22-326-1085).
To donate to the International March of the Living,
please go to www.motl.org/donate or call +1.212.869.6800.
Please. And thank you.