Marking 80 years Since the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

Thousands to participate in the 35th International March of the Living under the banner “Honoring Jewish Heroism”

Credit: MOTL

42 Holocaust survivors from all over the world will lead the march, including Halina Birenbaum from Israel, who hid in a bunker during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, as well as other grandchildren of the fighters in the uprising

Torches will be lit at the main ceremony marking the fight against anti-Semitism, in memory of Tunisian Jewry, and in honor of the State of Israel

April 2, 2023 – JERUSALEM – The March of the Living, long recognized for its prominent role in marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, will commemorate the 35th Anniversary of its creation with a march of thousands of participants from around the world.

For the first time since the onset of the global pandemic, the March will once again be held in its full format with delegations from well over 25 countries. The theme of this year’s March, “Honoring Jewish Heroism in the Holocaust” marks the 80th anniversary of the heroic Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The uprising lasted four weeks and has become a symbol of Jewish courage and heroism during the Holocaust.

Halina Birenbaum (credit: MOTL)

Warsaw born Holocaust survivor, Halina Birenbaum, was a child during the uprising and was hidden in a bunker until the Nazis liquidated the Ghetto. She was deported to Majdanek and later to Auschwitz. “I truly experienced the Holocaust in all its horror,” says Halina. She will participate in the 2023 March with grandchildren of Jewish resistance fighters: Eyal Zuckerman, granddaughter of ŻOB commanders Zivia Lubetkin and Yitzhak (Antek) Zuckerman; and Nir Yaari, grandson of resistance fighter, Bela Hazan Yaari.

“This is a special year that marks several significant events, the 35th Anniversary of the March of the Living, the 75th Anniversary of the State of Israel and the 80th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising,” noted President of the International March of the Living, Phyllis Greenberg Heideman, and its Chair Dr. Shmuel Rosenman.

“This year we will shine a light on Jewish heroism during the Holocaust. For years, Jews have been presented as victims who went ‘like lambs to the slaughter.’ Young people in Israel and throughout the Jewish world are not familiar with the countless acts of courage by thousands of Jews during the Holocaust; as an international educational organization, it is our duty to share these stories and to shine a light on the acts of these brave heroes.”

Phyllis Greenberg Heideman, President of the International March of the Living (credit: Sam Churchill)

This year, The March will be led by 42 Holocaust survivors from countries around the world. Among those joining them will be the United States Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides; former US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman; Jewish-American businessman Robert Kraft; philanthropist, Miriam Edelson; Mark Wilf, Chair of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel; Doron Almog, Chair of the Jewish Agency for Israel; Ifat Ovadia Luski, Chair of KKL-JNF; Iris and Haim Taib, third-generation of Holocaust survivors of Auschwitz and Tunisia; Philanthropists Eitan Neishlos and Mati Kochavi who recently made major contributions to restoring the shoes of the children murdered in Auschwitz – Birkenau as part of March of the Living “Soul to Sole” campaign, Pastor Lawrence Allen Huch; Israeli Minister of Education Yoav Kisch; Miller Center’s Police commissioners delegation from Europe and the United States; and  thousands of  students and adults representing a diverse cross-section of the world’s population. “It will be their voice who will carry the memory of the past into the future” said both President Heideman and Chair Rosenman”.

Robert Kraft, who will be leading a delegation titled “Speak up to Jewish hate”, said: “I am honored to stand and march with true heroes of the Holocaust—the courageous survivors who overcame tremendous obstacles to be with us today. Not only do these individuals serve as living reminders of the pain and suffering long felt by the Jewish people, but they also represent the resilience, unity, and strength that is embedded in our history. The March of the Living is a powerful statement of solidarity for all those who have been victims of intolerance and discrimination, and it reminds us that we must stand up against antisemitism and all hate to ensure that history does not repeat itself.”

Kraft recently launched a $25 million omni-channel campaign to mobilize all Americans, and especially non-Jews, to #StandUpToJewishHate. The campaign combines alarming data with humanizing storytelling representing everyday instances of antisemitism to educate and encourage audiences to recognize Jewish hate, in order to stand up against it.

US Ambassadors Nides and Friedman: “It is an indescribable honor to lead the inaugural Bipartisan Diplomatic Delegation representing the United States at the 2023 March of the Living. This is a time to reflect on what unites us as Jewish people and as human beings. The March is an indelible reminder that humanity defeated antisemitism, bigotry, and intolerance before, and that, united, we can defeat all of those hatreds again, every time they rear their ugly heads. Love is stronger than hate”.

Mark Wilf, Chairman of the Board of Governors, The Jewish Agency for Israel: “As the son of holocaust survivors, I am proud to march in remembrance of those who perished in the Shoah and in honor of those who survived. All of us must never forget the horrors that occurred as a result of hatred, bigotry, and intolerance. Today, we are also mindful of recent events in which Jews and others are fleeing to escape the horrors of war.  It is an honor to play a leadership role at The Jewish Agency for Israel which works globally to ensure the safety and security of the Jewish people, saving Jewish lives each day, while assuring that they can always find a safe haven in the land of Israel.”

Chair of KKL-JNF, Ifat Ovadia-Luski: “We will remember and never forget. Holocaust Remembrance Day this year marks eighty years since the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. A rebellion that commands us to remember that there were those who tried with all their might to fight against the German oppressor. There was Jewish resistance. As a people and as a country we must remember and never forget what happened to our people in the ghettos, in the death trains, in the extermination camps, in the killing pits, and wherever human life was lost. In the March of Living, young people from all over the world will march along the railroad tracks between the Auschwitz and Birkenau camps, the same way that hundreds of thousands of Jews were forced to march to their deaths during the Holocaust, by the Nazis and their accomplices. In a place where death is present in every corner, we will proudly carry the Israel flag and say never again.” 

Haim Taib: “I am proud and emotional to be leading the March of the Living, for the first time, in memory of the wonderful Jewish community of Tunisia, which was occupied by the Nazis and experienced antisemitic persecution, forced labor and starvation. I will be marching with my grandfather Haim Taib in my heart, the man I am named after, who was sent to do hard labor and returned beaten and bruised, just skin and bones. It is important that we remember the story of the Jewish communities of North Africa during the Holocaust”.

About March of The Living

The March of the Living is one of Holocaust Remembrance Day’s most recognized international events. Each year, some ten thousand participants march, Jewish and non-Jewish youth from all over the world, alongside Holocaust survivors, heads of state, ministers, religious leaders, intellectual and cultural figures, and many others.

To date, approximately 300,000 participants from 52 countries have marched on the train tracks from Auschwitz to Birkenau in tribute to the greatest loss in the history of the Jewish people and humanity as a whole. For the thousands of Jewish youth from around the world who participate in the educational program, the March itself is one event in a two week long journey to Poland and Israel, culminating in a March of Rebirth to the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Israel’s Independence Day.