Thousands of young Jews march at Auschwitz

25th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

April 25, 2006, OSWIECIM - Thousands of Jewish teenagers from around the globe completed the solemn 3-kilometre "March of the Living" Tuesday between the notorious Auschwitz and Birkenau Nazi death camps, which claimed up to 1.5 million lives.

April 25, 2006

OSWIECIM  - Thousands of Jewish teenagers from around the globe completed the solemn 3-kilometre "March of the Living" Tuesday between the notorious Auschwitz and Birkenau Nazi death camps, which claimed up to 1.5 million lives.

The mournful wail of a shofar, or Jewish ceremonial ram's horn, sounded the beginning of the march, which coincided with Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day, honouring the 6 million Jews who fell victim to Nazi genocide during WWII.

Close to 1,000 Polish youths joined some 6,000-7,000 Jewish teens in the procession, formally the 15th March of the Living.

Former Israeli prime minister and 1994 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shimon Perez headed the march, which began with all participants, including Holocaust survivors, passing through the infamous black iron "Arbeit macht frei" gate at Auschwitz.

The symbolic and emotional event is held each year at Auschwitz- Birkenau, the largest of Nazi Germany's network of death camps aimed at the genocide against Europe's estimated pre-1939 population of 11 million Jews.

Up to 1.5 million people, mostly European Jews, perished at the twin camps between 1940 and 1945. They were built by Nazi Germany in the occupied Polish towns of Oswiecim-Brzezinka. Poles, Roma and Soviet prisoners of war were among its other victims.

Many participants marched Tuesday wrapped in blue-and-white Israeli flags emblazoned with the six-pointed Star of David, others touted flags from their home countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hungary, Poland and the United States.

The march culminated with Jewish Kaddish prayers for the dead, speeches and special music near crematoria ruins inside the former Birkenau camp. The event went ahead under heavy security.

In 2005, former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon led a record 20,000 young Jews from around the globe in the marking of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau by the Soviet Red Army in January 2005.

German-born Pope Benedict XVI plans to honour Holocaust and WWII victims at the camp on May 28 during a visit to Poland scheduled for May 25-28.

Sirens wailed across Israel Tuesday morning as the country came to a standstill to commemorate the victims of the Nazi genocide directed against the Jews.

Israel's Holocaust Memorial Day began Monday night with a ceremony at Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Centre when six Holocaust survivors lit beacons honouring the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust.

In 2005, the United Nations designated January 27, the day the Auschwitz death camp was liberated in 1945, as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Israel, however, has traditionally marked it on the 27th day of the Jewish month of Nissan, one week before Independence Day, to symbolize the birth of the Jewish state from the ashes of the Holocaust.

DPA

Subject: German news

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