For the JC April 2021
Holocaust survivors will be front and centre of a global online celebration of Israel’s 73rd anniversary on April 15, under the auspices of the annual March of the Living (MOTL) project.
Normally, after the MOTL commemoration at Auschwitz, participants leave Poland for Israel in order to celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut in Jerusalem.
But this year, with only virtual ceremonies possible because of the pandemic, the MOTL communities from 25 countries around the world have devised a programme, featuring Holocaust survivors who helped to establish the state of Israel. Athlete Henry Hershkovitz, who survived the massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympics, will also take part.
MOTL president Phyllis Greenberg Heideman said: “This first-ever virtual celebration for Yom Ha’atzmaut has been entirely produced by alumni of March of the Living, for the benefit of our global Jewish community and friends of Israel”.
Among those whose stories will be highlighted, for the first time in many years, is that of Brigadier General (ret.) Dr Yitzhak Arad, a former chair of Yad Vashem, and one-time Soviet partisan — who fought in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence and later in the 1967 liberation of Jerusalem. Avraham Carmi, an educator who was captured by Jordanian forces in 1948, will also feature.
MOTL representatives in Israel will stage a festive tree planting ceremony — and new immigrants who went to live in Israel after having participated in an MOTL programme, will also feature in the event.