By Sophie Lipton
Last week, I participated in the UK delegation of March of the Living. There were many things that made this experience so thought provoking, reflective and worthwhile. Our educator was phenomenal and gave us the chance to reflect and reevaluate the Holocaust as well as empowering all participants to make their own informed decisions about the catastrophe. This trip went beyond Holocaust education as we also delved into the history of Polish Jewry before the war, adding a new dimension of Jewish culture which is so often overlooked.
It’s an eye opening experience to walk through Auschwitz, Belzec and Majdanic with Holocaust survivors who have a personal connection to many of these horrendous sites. I was in awe of the survivors’ bravery and ability to give eye witness accounts of such tragic memories, in order that such devastation never happen again. This, coupled with their strength to be positive about the future of our world is inspirational.
As a proud Jewish 21st century woman, it’s hard to even comprehend life for the victims and the survivors of the Holocaust. In order to continue to live in a safe, vibrant, community, the Holocaust must not become an anecdote in the back of a history text book.
The actual ‘march’ on the trip took place on Yom Hashoah and reaffirmed my belief in humanity in the world. 11,000 people all marched from Aushwitz to Birkeanu. Being part of a large community, surrounded by different cultures, nationalities and faiths all remembering the Shoah brings understanding, peace and tolerance into our world. The march demonstrated that violence can be eradicated and replaced by peace and humanity.