The march from Auschwitz to Birkenau – which also included former Israeli Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Israeli Supreme Court justices, Israeli police officers, and other officials – commemorated the passing of 70 years since the annihilation of Hungarian Jewry. A special train to Auschwitz from Budapest also brought marchers and followed the same route of the “death train” that had carried more than 400,000 Hungarian Jews to extermination camps. Hungarian President Janos Ader and several Hungarians attended the march’s closing ceremony, the Associated Press reported.
Prominent Holocaust historian Dr. Randolph L. Braham has chosen to return the Medium Cross of the Order of Merit of the Hungarian Republic, an award he received from Hungary in 2011, in a personal protest against a Holocaust memorial statue planned by the country’s government. In Braham’s view, the statue – depicting the German imperial eagle devouring the Angel Gabriel, who represents Hungary – diminishes Jewish victimhood during the Holocaust in Hungary.