Thousands of people have taken part in the “March of the Living” at Auschwitz. Walking from the gates of the death camp to the ruins of the gas chambers of Birkenau, they mourned the deaths of six million Jews killed by Nazis during World War II. Accompanying them was a recorded announcement listing the names of some of the victims.
Organisers said the marchers also celebrated the existence of the Jewish state. The three kilometre walk is just one of several events commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day this year. In Jerusalem, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert laid a wreath at the Yad Vashem memorial museum, at a ceremony marking the genocide.
The head of the museum, Avner Shalev explained the importance of the day: “We remember for the sake of a better future. We remember to be human and to keep the human values. And this is the extreme importance of this day. We cannot do otherwise. We just have to remember. It is part of our identity. It is part of our being.”
As sirens wailed, pedestrians stopped on pavements in a few moments of silence. But it seems despite the memory of the horrific events decades ago, anti-Semitism still exists. The Steven Roth Institute for the study of anti-Semitism in Israel said there were 590 cases of violence and vandalism against Jews worldwide last year.