Shalom Life | August 20, 2014

Holocaust Survivors, Grandchildren of Nazis, Marching Arm-in-Arm

March Across Poland organized by German Protestant Church

By: Jordan Shani

Published: August 21st, 2012 in News » World

Holocaust Survivors, Grandchildren of Nazis, Marching Arm-in-Arm

Close to 300 grandchildren of Nazis, as well as Holocaust survivors and their children, are marching side-by-side in an effort to speak up for Israel and to speak out against the latest onslaught of global anti-Semitism.

Participants of the week-long trek that will take them across Poland and the sites of a number of Nazi Concentration Camps and Death Camps including Belzec, Majdanek, Sobibor and Chelmno, come from various German-speaking countries, Belarus, Israel, the U.S. and Poland.

The march - the brainchild of a Protestant church in Tuebingen, southern Germany - started on August 20th at Auschwitz.

“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, told AFP. “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.”

“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 Polish organizer, told AFP.

One such participant, German Bäerbel Pfeiffer, asked for forgiveness because her grandfather, who was an electrician, installed the electrified barbed wire fence at Auschwitz-Birkenau and wired its gas chambers.

The march will wrap up on August 24th at Trblinka.

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