Virtual History Theater “Niepodległa” 2022 kicks off in Poland – Polish Editorial Office

During the Walk of Life, President Andrei Duda asserted that the crime of the Holocaust was born out of hate, just like the current Russian crimes in Ukraine.Photo: Jakub Szykczuk/KPRP/twitter.com/PrezydentPL

The walk of life is always a very profound experience; Although the march is accompanied by reflection and mourning, the march is nevertheless an event for the triumph of life – President Andrej Duda said Thursday during the main celebration of the Living March in the former Birkenau camp.

Speaking at the international memorial to the victims of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, the president referred to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and stressed that “everyone who kills and those who violate international law must bear strict and absolute responsibility for it.”

“The meaning of this event, the march of the living, is very moving. It is always a very profound experience. But at the same time, although this march is always accompanied by reflection and mourning, it is nevertheless the event of life, it is the event of the triumph of life “- he said Duda during the party.

He stressed that those who marched showed that even the worst totalitarian regimes – the German Nazis, which wanted to destroy and kill the entire Jewish nation and destroy other nations – “could not overcome the will to live and the will to continue.”
“While wandering here, among you from Auschwitz to Birkenau, I felt a deep responsibility to represent the Polish nation and the Poles, also in this historical sense, the Poles, also in this state, in the administrative sense of the word, simply Polish citizens ”- asserted Andrzej Duda. As the president said, it must be remembered that Polish citizens of Jewish and Polish citizenship died in the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. He noted that “in total, during World War II, Poland, my homeland, lost 6 million citizens, including more than 3 million former Polish Jews and Polish Jews who were mercilessly murdered by the Nazis.”

Andrzej Duda emphasized that we commemorate the victims of the Holocaust so that this does not happen again in the world. “We all speak of it with deep conviction and know very well that this terrible and unimaginable crime came from the hatred that is instilled in the German nation – a nation of great culture and a great history. It is hard to imagine.”

The President emphasized that today we are listening and reading transcripts of conversations with disbelief that ordinary Russians have with their relatives – soldiers who are fighting in Ukraine. “These are conversations of ordinary people, and these conversations are full of hate, there are often statements that the Ukrainians should be exterminated. It is hard to understand and hard to believe, because it is possible after something that the Jewish people and other nations experienced during the Second World War: Poles, Gypsies, Sinti , the Russians, too, behave this way ”- said Andrei Duda.

“It is hard to understand that after so many times here the Russian leaders spoke with pride that the Red Army liberated Auschwitz, they could bomb Babi Yar – the place where Ukrainian Jews were tortured during World War II, where tens of thousands of people were killed. Buried today .. bombs Russian..how is that possible? asked the president.

In his speech, Duda indicated that we are participating in the March of the Living not only to honor the dead, but also to show that the State of Israel not only exists, but has the right to exist. “We came here to show that during the Second World War, Nazi Germany managed to erase my country from the map, erase it and kill Poles, including Polish Jews, we will never allow something like this to happen here again” – he said.

“We are also here to show that there is absolutely no consent to try to wrest freedom and kill the Ukrainian nation with impunity, as is happening today in the occupied territories of Ukraine” – emphasized Duda. “We are here to show that every nation has the sacred right to live, to develop its traditions, to develop” – the president noted and stressed: “We shout out loud: No to hatred, not to anti-Semitism, not to anti-Ukrainian, not anti-Polish, but for hate.”

President Duda also emphasized that “everyone who kills, contravening international law, must bear a heavy and cruel responsibility for it. No more war, no more Holocaust. Eternal memory of the dead, eternal memory of all victims of hate” – said the President.

The President of Israel, Ishak Herzog, indicated in a message broadcast on a large screen to the participants in the march of the living, that a mourning was held for those killed in the Holocaust, to remember what happened, and to emphasize that the Holocaust will not happen again and will not happen again. It will be forgotten.
“The March of the Living is more than just a symbolic gesture, preserving the memory of the Holocaust is the duty of every person and every nation (…) Our duty is to oppose anti-Semitism and hatred” – asserted Herzog.

This year’s walk of life has been staged after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is taking place – as the organizers note – in the shadow of the war in Ukraine.

Organizers of the international organization March of the Living noted that this year’s March of the Living message focuses on the importance of passing on responsibility for and teaching Holocaust memory to the next generation: “To the descendants of those who survived the darkness. The days of Nazi oppression and the systematic extermination of more than 6 million Jewish victims “. As they explain, remembering the past is a learning tool for the future.

The walk of life began in the early afternoon from the camp gate with the inscription “Arbeit macht Frei” at Auschwitz I. It was attended by eight Holocaust survivors, about 2,000 young people – Jews from many countries of the world and about 350 magnates.

The signal for the march was the sound of the shofar, a liturgical instrument sounding from a ram’s horn. The participants moved on the streets of Oświęcim and Brzezinki. They entered the grounds of the former Birkenau camp through the historic main gate. They followed the slope of the camp where the Germans selected the deported Jews and sentenced the vast majority to immediate death in gas chambers. Their steps were accompanied by the voice of a teacher who mentioned the names of the children victims of the Holocaust – their pictures were projected onto a large screen. The march was led among others by Polish President Andrzej Duda with Holocaust survivor Eduard Mossberg, 96, dressed in striped camp uniforms.

During the main ceremony at the Memorial to the Victims of the former Birkenau camp, torches were lit between the ruins of the two largest gas chambers. It commemorates, among other things, those killed in the Holocaust, survivors and righteous among the nations who often risked their lives to save the Jews. The victims of the war in Ukraine were honored with a moment of silence. It was said: the consolation of the male Rashim and Kadesh.

The “March of Life” celebration traditionally falls on Holocaust Remembrance Day (Hha Shwa Day), the date of which is movable in the Gregorian calendar. In 2022, it falls on April 28.

The Walk of Life is an educational project, under the supervision of which Jews from different countries, especially pupils and students, visit the Holocaust sites established by the Germans during the war in the occupied Polish territories. They will also learn about the history of Polish Jews. Among other things, they meet their peers and the Polish righteous among the nations of the world. The march between the two former camps on Yom Al Hashwa is the culmination of the event.

The first march was in 1988. The next march has been held every two years and since 1996 every year. More than 20 thousand people participated. People, including delegations from about 50 countries. The rallies were, among others, the presidents and prime ministers of Poland and Israel, Nobel Prize laureates and clergymen of various denominations.

The Germans established Auschwitz in 1940 to imprison Poles there. Auschwitz 2-Birkenau was established two years later. It became the site of the extermination of the Jews. There was also a network of sub-camps in the camp complex. At Auschwitz, the Germans killed at least 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, as well as Poles, Gypsies, Soviet prisoners of war, and people of other nationalities.

PAP / PP

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