STOP THE VIRUS OF ANTISEMITISM

International Online Conference hosted by the March of Life Movement Draws Global Attention

On occasion of the Jewish memorial day Yom haShoah, March of Life held an online conference in Tübingen in cooperation with Yad Vashem. Numerous representatives of Jewish life, politicians and diplomats, as well as March of Life directors from 24 nations were connected online with about 10,000 participants.

Among them were the Premiers Reiner Haseloff (Saxony-Anhalt) and Michael Kretschmer (Saxony) as well as Frank Müller-Rosentritt, Member of Parliament from Germany. From Israel: Gila Gamiel (Minister for Social Equality); Sharren Haskel (Member of the Knesset); Shaya Ben Yehuda (Director of International Relations Yad Vashem); the Israeli Ambassadors: Dov Segev-Steinberg (Finland), Ariel Rosenstein (Peru) and Alexander Ben Zvi (Poland), as well as representatives of Jewish communities: András Heisler (President of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary and Vice-President of the World Jewish Congress); Steven Jaffe (Consultant to Jewish Community Organisations in the UK); Alfredo Goldschmidt (Chief Rabbi of Colombia), Zsolt Balla (Chief Rabbi of Saxony), Max Privorozki (Chairman of the Jewish Community in Halle), Michael Kashi (Member of the Board of IRGW), Boris Zabarko (President of the Ukrainian Association of Concentration Camp and Ghetto Survivors) and, as guests of honor, Holocaust survivors: Dr. Anna Steinberger (USA); Arie Itamar (Israel) and Peter Kardos (Chief Rabbi, Hungary).

Every year around the date of the Jewish Holocaust memorial day Yom haShoah, the March of Life movement brings tens of thousands of people to the streets, raising their voices for Israel and against antisemitism worldwide. Due to the Corona pandemic all events in 2020 had to be cancelled without exception.

In cooperation with Yad Vashem, participants from 24 countries held a 24-hour reading of the names of the victims of the Holocaust, which then led to the online conference in Tübingen: “Stop the Virus of Antisemitism”.

In their welcoming speeches, the State Premiers Dr. Reiner Haseloff (Saxony-Anhalt) and Michael Kretschmer (Saxony) agreed that remembrance, vigilance and a determined stand against antisemitism are necessary at this time.

In his opening speech, Jobst Bittner, initiator and president of March of Life, recalled the promises made by the 55 heads of state at the World Holocaust Forum in early January to combat antisemitism and warned: “Those who remain silent in times of the Corona crisis will live dangerously in the future”.

Steven Jaffe (Consultant to Jewish Community Organisations in the UK) said: “I have seen the March of Life movement spread and touch the hearts of many Jewish people. While the whole world is in “lockdown” because of the virus, we are seeing how this crisis is a breeding ground for antisemitism worldwide. Thank you for taking a stand against antisemitism online during this time!”

In a time of remembrance, the Chief Rabbi of Saxony, Zsolt Balla, sang the Jewish prayer “El Male Rachamim”. Afterwards, six candles were lit simultaneously by attendees around the world in memory of the deaths of six million Jews.

The International Director and Chairman of March of Life, Heinz Reuss, called for more vigorous efforts to hold Marches of Life in every city and country around Yom haShoah for the year 2021.

In conclusion, Chief Rabbi of Colombia, Alfredo Goldschmidt, said: “As a child I always had the feeling of being alone. But through what you are doing as March of Life, we as a Jewish nation and Jews worldwide feel that we have true friends, true friends who will not abandon us in good times and bad. God bless you!”

The recording of the online conference with all greetings can be viewed on the March of Life YouTube channel in English, German, Spanish, Russian and Polish: www.youtube.com/marchoflife