Berlin says, “Am Israel Chai – the people of Israel live!”

Berlin says, “Am Israel Chai – the people of Israel live!”   

One week after the attempted occupation of Humboldt University by anti-Israel protesters, March of Life makes a strong statement against antisemitism and hatred of Israel, also at German universities.   

The tenth March of Life in Berlin set out from Bebelplatz in front of the university. During the historical introduction about antisemitism at German universities, especially during the Nazi era, the listeners were reminded of the of the book burning at that same location.   

Participants of the March spoke about how their ancestors had embraced Nazi doctrine at universities and had become perpetrators and even murderers. As students, therefore, they made clear statements against the twisting of facts in the recent protests against Israel at universities and they emphasized that the one-sided marginalization of the Jewish state is in fact antisemitic.   

Under the motto “Am Israel Chai – the people of Israel live!”, the 750 participants marched together to Potsdamer Platz. There the founder and president of March of Life, Jobst Bittner, declared, “No one would have thought it possible that 80 years after the Holocaust people would be chanting ‘Death to the Jews’ on the streets of the world again. Nevertheless, I am not surprised that since the massacre on October 7 and Israel’s reaction against Hamas in Gaza, openly displayed hostility towards Jews has increased all over the world! That is why we stand together in solidarity and friendship with Israel – regardless of Israeli policy – at this time more than ever.” Jobst Bittner also warned, “Today we can once again be followers like our ancestors and become guilty through our silence.”  

The march was co-organized by “March of the Living”, whose European President Michel Gourary told the participants, “I came all the way from Israel to thank you for your support and your friendship with the Jewish people!” For 36 years, the March of the Living has been commemorating the victims of Auschwitz with descendants of the survivors every Yom HaShoah, Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day. “And since October 7, when the State of Israel suffered the worst pogrom since the Holocaust, we must renew the ‘never again’,” said Gourary. Noam Petri, deputy chairman of the Jewish Student Union of Germany, summarized, “We are probably living in the hardest times for Jews since 1945. Germany’s policy is full of contradictions regarding its ‘never again’. But for Jews, ‘never again’ is a promise to ourselves. Together with our friends, who are also standing here among us, we will survive Hamas, Hezbollah, the Iranian regime, and all other antisemites!”   

In a greeting to the worldwide Marches of Life, as in London, Warsaw and over 100 cities in 20 nations, the Israeli President Isaac Herzog writes, “I am hopeful that the bold decision to visibly stand on the side of justice, and the enormous goodwill that is evident in the Marches of life, will offer a powerful counter-voice to hate. And revitalize the clear moral stance that supports Israel and the Jewish people at this time of terror and enormous grief.”   

  

Frank Heinrich of the Evangelical Alliance Germany said in his Letter of Greeting, “We as the Evangelical Alliance in Germany are committed to our roots in two respects: On the one hand, we openly confess the Jewish origin and identity of our Lord, Jesus of Nazareth. On the other hand, we recognize our responsibility as Germans that this history must never be repeated, and that Jews must never be persecuted and harassed here or anywhere else because of their origin and faith.” Winfried Rudloff, Managing Director of Ebenezer Operation Exodus, joined the call to never forget and to stand by the side of Jewish brothers, sisters and friends.  

The survivors of the Hamas terror attack on Israel on October 7, Elinor and Hannan Dann, recounted the hours during the attack. In their kibbutz Kfar Aza, 62 people were murdered and 19 kidnapped in that massacre. “At first we thought it was an ordinary rocket attack. But then we heard the sounds of weapons and fighting. We had to hide in the safe room for 22 hours before the army was able to free us from the terrorists who had entered our village,” said Hannan, father of two young children. Elenor reported that they were then evacuated in trucks with only the bare necessities. A terrible reminder of old traumas for the descendants of Holocaust survivors. Hannan concluded with an appeal to the Palestinians: “Take responsibility! For your sake first. The path to independence will not succeed through war, but through compromise and peace.”  

Cantor Arie Zaloshinsky of the synagogue in Joachimstaler Straße prayed the traditional “El Male Rachamim” in memory of the victims of the Shoah after seven candles had been lit. Six candles in memory of the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust and another one in memory of the victims of October 7 and the remaining hostages.  

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