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    Jews and Poles Join Together in Annual March of the Living

    On Tuesday, a solemn procession of 10,000 Jews and Poles marched to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust. Survivors of the genocide, alongside members of the Jewish and Polish communities, joined together to take part in the annual March of the Living.

    Forty Holocaust survivors from around the world took part in an annual march from the infamous “Arbeit macht frei” (Work Sets You Free) gate of the former Nazi German death camp Auschwitz to the crematoria of the nearby Birkenau site. The march followed its traditional three-kilometre route.

    A solemn ceremony was held at a memorial site between the remains of Birkenau’s two largest gas chambers on Tuesday to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust. A variety of speakers addressed the gathering, including survivors of the genocide, representatives of the Jewish community and government officials.

    Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan and Italian President Sergio Mattarella participated in a special event to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust during the Italian leader’s three-day visit to Poland.


    In 1988, the inaugural March of the Living began. Since then, it has been held every two years until 1996, when it began to be held annually. The largest march to date attracted 20,000 participants from nearly 50 countries. Polish and Israeli presidents, prime ministers, and representatives from various religions have taken part in past marches.

    In 1940, the Germans set up the Auschwitz concentration camp, primarily for the imprisonment of Poles. Two years later, Auschwitz II-Birkenau was created to serve as a site for the mass extermination of Jews. It is estimated that over 1.1 million people were killed at Auschwitz, with the majority being of Jewish descent, amounting to around 960,000 people.
    
    On January 27, 1945, the Red Army liberated the concentration camp, and two years later in 1947, the campsite was declared a national memorial site.

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