March of the Living 2024:
The Otef Delegation

Survivors of both the Holocaust and the October 7 attacks lead the 36th International March of the Living, an initiative by the Menomadin Foundation. The initiative emphasizes the critical importance of Holocaust remembrance, promotes unity among Jewish communities, and celebrates the enduring spirit of renewal and growth rising from the ashes of devastation.

The Background

The March of the Living is an annual event held in Poland on Holocaust Memorial Day. Participants, including thousands of Jewish and non-Jewish youths, Holocaust survivors, heads of state, ambassadors, and military officers, march three kilometers along the train tracks between the Auschwitz and Birkenau camps. This path mirrors the tragic route where tens of thousands of Jews were forcibly marched to their deaths by the Nazis and their collaborators. The event serves to instill the memory of the Holocaust in younger generations, honor its victims, and reinforce the commitment to “never again.”

The Challenge

On Simchat Torah, October 7, 2023, Hamas terrorists invaded southern Israel and committed brutal acts of murder, torture, rape, and kidnapping against innocent children, women, and men. Echoing the darkest chapters of history, these horrific acts of anti-Semitism constituted the deadliest attack on Jews since the Holocaust. This tragedy was followed by an alarming rise in global anti-Semitism, evident in significant institutions from Ivy League universities in the U.S. to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where Israel, having recently endured a genocidal assault, faces accusations of genocide.

In this context, the 2024 March of the Living takes on profound importance. More than ever, it is essential to uphold the memory of the Holocaust and vigorously fight anti-Semitism, reaffirming dedication to the lessons of history and the vow of “never again.”

A delegation of the heroes of Simchat Torah, 7 of October, events at the gate of Auschwitz, a Menomadin Foundation initiative.

A delegation of the heroes of Simchat Torah, 7 of October, events at the gate of Auschwitz, a Menomadin Foundation initiative.

The Opportunity

The Menomadin Foundation has formed a delegation comprising survivors of the Holocaust and the October 7 massacre to participate in the 2024 March of the Living. The initiative underscores the critical importance for Jewish communities to stand resolute and united against evil, to recover robustly from devastation, and to uphold the vow of “never again.” Leading the delegation is Menomadin Foundation President Haim Taib, who lit a torch at the 2023 March of the Living to honor his grandfather and the Jewish community of Tunisia, who endured suffering under Nazi occupation.

The delegation features a group marked by their remarkable survival and heroic actions. It includes Holocaust survivor Jacqueline Glicksman from Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha, who survived the attack by leaping from the window of her burning house; Tali Haddad from Ofakim, known for her bravery in rescuing the wounded under fire; Holocaust survivor Bella Haim, another Holocaust survivor, whose grandson Yotam was tragically killed after being kidnapped to Gaza and escaping Hamas captivity. The group also includes Shmil Berko from Ashkelon, whose home was destroyed by bombing; Tsili Winkert, a Holocaust survivor and grandmother of Omer, who was abducted from the Nova party; Fernando Merman, a kidnap victim from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak, who was recently rescued during a daring operation in Rafah; and recently released abductees Liat Atzili and Gabriella Leimberg.
Family members of other abductees and victims will also join the march, including those of Yair and Eitan Horn, Yosef and Hamza Alziadene, and Alex Danzig. Additionally, representatives of bereaved families, such as those of Aner Shapira, Maj. (res.) Moshe Yedidia Leiter, and Col. Assaf Hamami, will participate. The local leaders, Ashkelon Mayor Tomer Glam and Shaar Hanegev Head of Council Tamir Idan, whose communities have been directly impacted, are also attending.
This assembly of survivors and heroes underscores the profound spirit of resilience and remembrance the March aims to honor.

Amidst the backdrop of the Israel-Hamas War, the Menomadin Foundation has collaborated with local authorities in frontline and peripheral communities to bolster resilience and support rehabilitation, particularly accompanying Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha.

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