From Budapest to Auschwitz

2024 March of the Living Commemorates 80 Years Since Destruction of Hungarian Jewry in the Shoah

At this year’s March of the Living, participants will mark 80 years since the annihilation of Hungarian Jewry during the Holocaust which began in the spring of 1944.

Image: Holokauszt Emlékközpont, Budapest

Prior to the March of the Living on Yom Hashoah, many participants will travel to Hungary for a weekend dedicated to the commemoration of the memory of 565,000 Hungarian Jews, 424,000 of which were transported to their death in Auschwitz within just 56 days.

For the past 20 years, we have been organizing educational programs and commemorations of the March of the Living in Hungary. We are honored that every year 10,000 – 15,000 people join us in Budapest to commemorate and remember the Holocaust.”, said Gábor Gordon, founder of the March of the Living Hungary program 20 years ago.

Image: Yad Vashem

The program will include visits to Jewish heritage sites, monuments and museums, testimonials from Holocaust survivors in Hungary and meetings with the Hungarian Jewish community. Special emphasis will be placed on the bravery of the Hungarian Righteous among the Nations, the pioneer Zionist youth movements and paratroopers from the land of Israel, such as Hannah Szenes, who fought against the Nazis during WWII.

The Hungarian program will culminate with a special March of the Living in Budapest with thousands of people marching to one of the railway stations from which Hungarian Jews were sent to their deaths.

On the evening of May 5th, a memorial service will be held marking the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, led by celebrated Cantor Shimon Farkas, of Sydney, Australia, whose 3 Hungarian grandparents were murdered in the Shoah.

From Budapest, participants will travel to Poland to participate in the traditional March of the Living from Auschwitz to Birkenau. A special train will leave Budapest immediately after the Erev Yom HaShoah Ceremony carrying 475 Hungarian High School students and their educators. After 11 hours, the train will arrive at the Oswiecim (Auschwitz) train station.

On Holocaust Remembrance Day – May 6 2024 28 Nissan 5784 – thousands of people will begin their visit of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. The 36th March of the Living will start at noon involving a 3.2 km march from Auschwitz to Birkenau. The March will include thousands of youth and Holocaust survivors from dozens of countries Jews and non-Jews including a community of Hungarian Israelis. In addition, a  group of 22 Hungarian Holocaust survivors coming from Hungary will meet the Hungarian High School students in Auschwitz and March together with them to Birkenau.

The March will conclude with a memorial ceremony at the remains of the crematorium in Birkenau and a pledge to combat antisemitism and all forms of hatred and intolerance.

Image: Ziv Koren

I was born in Budapest in 1932. After my father was exiled and murdered I lived in the Budapest Ghetto with my mother. Every hour and every day is etched in my memory for all eternity, until the day I die. The Red Army liberated us on 18 January 1945, but we were never freed of the harsh memories. My family and others were exiled to Auschwitz, victims of the Final Solution. I am marching in the March of the Living in Auschwitz as a victor for all of my relatives who were burned alive here!”, said 92 year old Gabor Kovac, a Holocaust Survivor from Hungary who will join the 2024 March of the Living.