March of the Living

By Hannah & Hila

            For Hila and I, it wasn’t our first trip to Poland. Hila found that the approach on March of the Living was different to her first trip as it was based around the needs of the Brits. The trip was based upon facts rather than emotions to accommodate the British group’s needs. I found that this trip was more difficult for me this time as I was able to take in all the small details and fact that I had previously been too overwhelmed to swallow.

After returning from the trip a few things have definitely stuck with us. Firstly the feeling from the March of the Living itself where we heard from many speakers include Edward Mosberg, a Holocaust survivor. His message was clear, he will never forget and never forgive the actions that took place during The Holocaust. The power of his message was emphasised by his visible anger at the Nazis who took his family, community and everything he knew. Throughout his speech he was wearing a striped jacket with his number from the camp son it while his granddaughter wore the same with the number of his wife. This was a shocking contrast to the happiness that we had felt all day, celebrating life and the survival of the Jewish people.

Secondly, we found that with guidance from our educator Miriyam, it pushed us to think about our Jewish Identity and what the core values of that were for each of us. This was a difficult discussion and self-reflection as we felt as if we were already being challenged by our surroundings to then have to question what being Jewish is to us, another layer to an already perplexing problem.

Lastly we both came back knowing that we want to continue Holocaust education within the movement. The saying, and now hashtag, are getting truer and truer every year as we have less opportunities to listen to first-hand accounts of the horrors of The Shoah so must never forget. We need to not be bystanders and as a youth movement make sure we are creating leaders who will act when necessary! It is our movement that makes us strong. As Zivia Lubetkin, a survivor and leader in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, says in her memoires “It would be wrong, painfully wrong, to assume that the resistance displayed by the youth during the stormy days of destruction was the response of a few individuals, of Yitzchak, or Zivia, or Mordechai, or Frumka. Our fate would have been very different had we not been members of the movement…We were able to endure the life in the ghetto because we knew that we were a collective, a movement. Each of us knew that he or she wasn’t alone…the feeling that there was a community people who cared about each other, who shared ideas and values in common, made it possible for each of us to do what he or she did. This was the source of our strength to live. It is the very same source which keeps the survivors alive even today. The Jewish people stood the test”.