The International March of the Living announced on Monday that the April 18, 2023, march from Auschwitz to Birkenau will be led jointly by United States Ambassador to Israel, Thomas Nides, and his predecessor David Friedman.
The International March of the Living’s website, which features an extensive fundraising section, presents the march as an annual educational program, bringing individuals from around the world to Poland and Israel to study the history of the Holocaust and to examine the roots of prejudice, intolerance and hatred.
Since its inception in 1988, more than 260,000 individuals from 52 countries have marched down the same 3-kilometer path leading from Auschwitz to Birkenau on Holocaust Remembrance Day––Yom Hashoah––as a tribute to all the victims of the Holocaust. In 2023 the organization will celebrate 35 years as a torchbearer of memory and purveyor of Holocaust education.
According to the march organizers, the joint effort for the coming march by Democratic and Republican leaders of the US-Israel relationship “highlights America’s bipartisan solidarity with Israel and its commitment to combat antisemitism in all its forms, a commitment which transcends politics and partisan agendas.”
Ambassador Nides said: “There can be no gap in the American political system when it comes to standing up against antisemitism and intolerance and defending Israel. David and I represent different sides of the political spectrum, but we are on the same side- the correct side- when it comes to standing with Israel and against prejudice and hate of any kind.”
Former Ambassador David Friedman said: “As we march arm in arm from Auschwitz to Birkenau with our colleagues, we will be demonstrating in the strongest terms that antisemitism will not be tolerated in any sector of America. Tom and I have very different political views, but we fully agree that antisemitism is a vile scourge which we must defeat.”
Phyllis Greenberg Heideman, President of the International March of the Living, commented: “Marching from Auschwitz to Birkenau with these two distinguished American diplomats leading thousands of people of good faith from around the globe on Holocaust Remembrance Day will deliver a powerful message to the world: The United States of America is forever committed to, and united in, pursuing the noble and just goals of combatting antisemitism as well as hatred in all its forms, and standing in solidarity with Israel.”
Last year, Polish President Andrzej Duda insisted in a speech at the main ceremony of the March of the living: “I would like to remind you that in World War II 6 million Poles were murdered, of whom 3 million were Jews.”