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August 20, 2014 / 24 Av, 5774
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Children of Nazis and Jewish Survivors March Together Across Poland


The TOS group conducted in 2011 a march commemorating the deportation of the Jews of Leipzig, Germany, to Riga, Latvia.

The TOS group conducted in 2011 a march commemorating the deportation of the Jews of Leipzig, Germany, to Riga, Latvia.

270 grandchildren of Nazis as well as Holocaust survivors and their children from German speaking countries, Israel, the U.S., Belarus and Poland, began a week-long march across Poland Monday, passing alongside the Nazi death camps.

The march began at Auschwitz, near Krakow, in southern Poland and will end on Friday at Treblinka, 65 miles north-east of the capital Warsaw.

MK Lia Shemtov, Knesset Deputy Speaker, will be a special guest at the final ceremonies.

Marchers will visit the sites of several death and concentration camps set up in occupied Poland, including Belzec, Majdanek, Sobibor and Chelmno.

The march was conceived by a Protestant church in Tuebingen, southern Germany, in collaboration with Polish groups.

“The idea came in our church in Tuebingen when a lot of people were looking into their family history and they found out their families were involved in Nazi crimes,” Heinz Reuss, an organizer with the church, told AFP on Monday.

“We want to speak up for Israel and against anti-Semitism, but obviously as Germans you can’t do it without looking into your own families because of their involvement,” he added. “Our first march was in 2007 in Tuebingen. There were several concentration camps around it during the war. At the end of the war there were death marches to Dachau.”

“It was our first march with Holocaust survivors.”

“Participants will march in small relay groups between several death and concentration camps installed in Poland by Nazi Germany. In this way they would like to ask for forgiveness for what their grandparents did in order to break a kind of conspiracy of silence on these acts in Germany,” Zbigniew Judasz, a local Polish organizer, told AFP.

The week-long march began with a ceremony at the Birkenau death campnear Auschwitz.

German marcher Bäerbel Pfeiffer asked for forgiveness for her grandfather, an electrician who installed the electrified barbed wire fence at Auschwitz-Birkenau and wired the camp’s gas chambers.

Waving German and Israeli flags, the marchers then began their march to Kielce, 105 miles south of Warsaw.

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10 Responses to “Children of Nazis and Jewish Survivors March Together Across Poland”

  1. Lila Pascal says:

    It takes a very big heart to admit such complicity as well as a very forgiving heart to march alongside.

  2. all mankind must not forget.

  3. Geraldine Laughery Perry says:

    Wow! What a beautiful thing to do!

  4. Eliza Howarth says:

    This is the group with which Ted Pearce is affiliated.

  5. Bravo. This is wonderful. I've always been a big fan of the March of the Living. But to know that the descendants of Nazis are now participating is a tribute to the capacity of teshuvah to change the world.

  6. Yori Yanover says:

    I was very touched by it.

  7. John Summers says:

    I don't doubt that this took place and I think it's great. But, where are the leaves on the trees? It's August, not November!

  8. John Summers says:

    OK, the picture is from ANOTHER march:)

  9. Yes, this is the way! Great initiative!

  10. Andy Bendzin says:

    The March of Life was part of Zola Levitts video series "Bad Moon Rising." It showed the march from Tuebingen to Dachau. It was heartaching to see the guilt of people whose grandparents comitted or war part of horrendous crimes against humanity. It was also joyous to see the same people relieved from a great burden once they confronted the realities of the Holocaust. Jews and Gentiles were uniting on this march. Toso is a great evangelical church that celebrates the Jewish Feasts in their midst. The main entrance of the church passes over the old railroad tracks from one of the rail road lines leading to the death camps as a constant reminder for the people attending there. I truly believe that this congreagation has a sincere heart which, sadly, can be only seen in Christian groups. I say Christian because the church as we know it, Catholic as well as Lutheran, do not even know the meaning of the word.

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