Thousands mark Holocaust Remembrance Day with annual March of the Living

The March of the Living took place in Poland, where participants gathered at the Auschwitz death camp. Israelis marked the day with silence and warnings about rising anti-Semitism.

Thousands of young Jews from around the world gathered in Oswiecim, Poland, on Thursday to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day. They marched alongside Holocaust survivors and international politicians at the site of the former Auschwitz death camp run by Nazi Germany.

Some 10,000 marchers, who walked along a 3-kilometer (1.8-mile) route between two sites at Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, waved Israeli flags and banners highlighting the issue of rising anti-Semitism

Read more: 'Eva Stories': Remembering the Holocaust with Instagram

The March of the Living has been held annually since 1988, when it began as part of an education program for young Jews.

Digital World | 03.05.2019

It is estimated that 1.1 million of the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis during World War II died at Auschwitz.

Sirens then silence in Israel

In Israel, the day was commemorated with the wail of sirens and sudden silence as millions of residents stopped what they were doing for two minutes — drivers stopped their cars and pedestrians stood in the streets with their heads bowed as a gesture of respect.

The day was also marked with a ceremony at the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin both spoke at the ceremony.

Netanyahu said the hatred of Jews unified the radical right and left as well as radical Islamists. Rivlin warned against forging alliances with those who espouse anti-Semitism.

Netanyahu has drawn criticism for allying with far-right groups in Israel as well as populist leaders like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has been accused of fostering and profiting from anti-Semitic sentiment to advance his political agenda. Israel's treatment of Palestinians has also drawn broad international condemnation.

'Never Again': Memorials of the Holocaust

Dachau

The Nazi regime opened the first concentration camp in Dauchau, not far from Munich. Just a few weeks after Adolf Hitler came to power it was used by the paramilitary SS "Schutzstaffel" to imprison, torture and kill political opponents to the regime. Dachau also served as a prototype and model for the other Nazi camps that followed.

'Never Again': Memorials of the Holocaust

Wannsee House

The villa on Berlin's Wannsee lake was pivotal in planning the Holocaust. Fifteen members of the Nazi government and the SS Schutzstaffel met here on January 20, 1942 to plan what became known as the "Final Solution," the deportation and extermination of all Jews in German-occupied territory. In 1992, the villa where the Wannsee Conference was held was turned into a memorial and museum.

'Never Again': Memorials of the Holocaust

Bergen-Belsen

The Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Lower Saxony was initially established as a prisoner of war camp before becoming a concentration camp. Prisoners too sick to work were brought here from other concentration camps, so many also died of disease. One of the 50,000 killed here was Anne Frank, a Jewish girl who gained international fame posthumously after her diary was published.

'Never Again': Memorials of the Holocaust

Buchenwald Memorial

Buchenwald near the Thuringian town of Weimar was one of the largest concentration camps in Germany. From 1937 to April 1945, the National Socialists deported about 270,000 people from all over Europe here and murdered 64,000 of them.

'Never Again': Memorials of the Holocaust

Nazi party rally grounds

Nuremberg hosted the biggest Nazi party propaganda rallies from 1933 until the start of the Second World War. The annual Nazi party congress as well as rallies with as many as 200,000 participants took place on the 11-km² (4.25 square miles) area. Today, the unfinished Congress Hall building serves as a documentation center and a museum.

'Never Again': Memorials of the Holocaust

Memorial to the German Resistance

The Bendlerblock building in Berlin was the headquarters of a military resistance group. On July 20, 1944, a group of Wehrmacht officers around Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg carried out an assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler that failed. The leaders of the conspiracy were summarily shot the same night in the courtyard of the Bendlerblock, which is today the German Resistance Memorial Center.

'Never Again': Memorials of the Holocaust

Hadamar Euthanasia Center

From 1941 people with physical and mental disabilities were killed at a psychiatric hospital in Hadamar in Hesse. Declared "undesirables" by the Nazis, some 15,000 people were murdered here by asphyxiation with carbon monoxide or by being injected with lethal drug overdoses. Across Germany some 70,000 were killed as part of the Nazi euthanasia program. Today Hadamar is a memorial to those victims.

'Never Again': Memorials of the Holocaust

Holocaust Memorial

Located next to the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin's Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe was inaugurated sixty years after the end of World War II on May 10, 2005, and opened to the public two days later. Architect Peter Eisenman created a field with 2,711 concrete slabs. An attached underground "Place of Information" holds the names of all known Jewish Holocaust victims.

'Never Again': Memorials of the Holocaust

Memorial to persecuted homosexuals

Not too far from the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, another concrete memorial honors the thousands of homosexuals persecuted by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945. The four-meter high monument, which has a window showing alternately a film of two men or two women kissing, was inaugurated in Berlin's Tiergarten on May 27, 2008.

'Never Again': Memorials of the Holocaust

Sinti and Roma Memorial

Opposite the Reichstag parliament building in Berlin, a park inaugurated in 2012 serves as a memorial to the 500,000 Sinti and Roma people killed by the Nazi regime. Around a memorial pool the poem "Auschwitz" by Roma poet Santino Spinelli is written in English, Germany and Romani: "gaunt face, dead eyes, cold lips, quiet, a broken heart, out of breath, without words, no tears."

'Never Again': Memorials of the Holocaust

'Stolpersteine' - stumbling blocks as memorials

In the 1990s, the artist Gunther Demnig began a project to confront Germany's Nazi past. Brass-covered concrete cubes placed in front of the former houses of Nazi victims, provide details about the people and their date of deportation and death, if known. More than 45,000 "Stolpersteine" have been laid in 18 countries in Europe - it's the world's largest decentralized Holocaust memorial.

'Never Again': Memorials of the Holocaust

Brown House in Munich

Right next to the "Führerbau" where Adolf Hitler had his office, was the headquarters of the Nazi Party in Germany, in the "Brown House" in Munich. A white cube now occupies its former location. A new "Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism" opened on April 30, 2015, 70 years after the liberation from the Nazi regime, uncovering further dark chapters of history.

Emboldened anti-Semites

With anti-Semitic violence in the US and across Europe on the rise, right-wing activists in Germany caused outrage Wednesday when they marched in formation to the beat of drums, carrying torches through the streets of Plauen in the eastern state of Saxony.

Josef Schuster, the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, voiced harsh criticism of the march, which he called "shocking" and "disturbing." He said it conjured "memories of the darkest chapter in German history."

Schuster called for state politicians to investigate just who had allowed the march to go ahead.

His sentiments were echoed by Green Party state parliamentarian Valentin Lippmann: "The sight of right-wing extremists marching with drums, torches, flags, and matching clothing invokes the Storm Trooper marches of the Nazi era."

Saxony had previously vowed to break up neo-Nazi networks in the state.

The march took place on the same day that Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, released a report documenting a 13% rise in "severe and violent" anti-Semitic crimes. Kantor said: "In 2018, we witnessed the largest number of Jews murdered in a single year for decades."

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