Yom HaShoah 2021: Together for a Better Future

More than 100 Cities in 25 Nations were active on Yom HaShoah

The message of remembrance and friendship with Israel reached tens of thousands this year despite the pandemic and its related restrictions.

The Message of Reconciliation on the Streets

The Marches of Life deliberately join in the Israeli-Jewish commemoration. On Yom HaShoah, traditionally this is includes the reading of the names of victims among other things. That is why March of Life, in cooperation with the World Holocaust Remembrance Center Yad Vashem, held public readings of names at more than 100 locations around the world. Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau from Israel, Holocaust Survivor and Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council thanked March of Life for its commitment to remembrance, which is a holy assignment: “That’s why we want to encourage you and we admire your actions!”

Where possible, the name reading was combined with a march, e.g. in Berlin, Tübingen, Albstadt-Ebingen, Flensburg, as well as Schaffhausen, Zurich (Switzerland) and Quito (Ecuador). In many places, larger and smaller events were held with Holocaust survivors and representatives of public life. In the face of the dramatic increase in antisemitism since the outbreak of the pandemic, the call to action on Yom HaShoah was even more so to not look away or to be silent. In the joint declaration, which was read in various languages at all the locations, March of Life founder Jobst Bittner wrote: “We come across hate speech, insults and defamations in social media every day. Anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, downplaying the Holocaust and anti-Zionism are further forms of the centuries-old hatred of the Jewish people. That is why we, as the March of Life Movement, are raising our voices together for a better future without antisemitism!”

Personal Encounters Worldwide  

The international online event on the evening of Yom HaShoah was full of personal encounters and stories. March of Life representatives from 16 countries each honored a survivor of the Shoah to whom they have a personal friendship. Helena Weinrauch, who survived three concentration camps and a death march and narrowly escaped death time and again, had a special message for the more than 3,000 viewers: despite all the humiliation, torture and betrayal that she experienced, hate does not exist in her vocabulary: “Because if I hate, then I am no better than the Nazis. I have forgiven.”

At the end of the moving evening, it became clear that the Shoah is not a distant event of the past, but has left its mark on subsequent generations. Four music artists, respectively descendants of victims and descendants of perpetrators from Germany and Israel, addressed the consequences of the Shoah in their own lives in their songs and how everyone can become a voice of reconciliation and healing by speaking the truth.

This issue was taken up in media around the world. So the message reached tens of thousands of television viewers, newspaper readers and radio listeners. The voice of remembrance, reconciliation and friendship with Israel cannot be stopped even during a pandemic.

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