(JNS) Several senior U.S. officials took part in the March of the Living for the first time to commemorate the deaths of six million Jews during the Holocaust on Yom Hashoah. The officials included U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, U.S. Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher, Ambassador to the Holy See Calista Gingrich and Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Elan Carr. The delegation joined thousands of others who did the nearly two-mile march from Auschwitz to Birkenau on Yom Hashoah as a tribute to all victims of the Holocaust. Carr told reporters that “There is no administration, no president, no secretary of state that have ever committed themselves to this extent to fight against antsemitism, to protect the Jewish people and to support the State of Israel,” he added.
In his speech, Isaac Herzog, chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, called on world leaders to unite and stem the tide of antisemitism. “From this place, I call on world leaders to fight rampant antisemitism erupting around the world, especially the shocking and dramatic rise of hate crimes in Europe, Latin America [and] the United States,” he said. “It cannot be that 74 years later after that wretched war, Jews are once again unsafe on the streets of Europe. Jews cannot be murdered in Pittsburgh and San Diego or anywhere. Let us heed the warning and take to heart the lessons of the Holocaust. World leaders must unite with zero tolerance for hate crimes of any kind.”
Herzog also spoke about his father, Chaim Herzog, the sixth president of the State of Israel, who fought in the British army during World War II and was one of the liberators of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. “He crossed the River Rhine in one of the most challenging of battles of the war and reached Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in April 1945,” said Herzog. “He walked towards the living skeletons and said to them in Yiddish: ‘I am a Jew, I am from Eretz Israel, and I came to rescue you. … A few days later, on Friday evening, he led the prayers for those who survived the horror.”
CAP: Members of the first-ever official U.S. government delegation to the March of the Living hold the American flag up at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps in Poland on May 2, 2019. Credit: March of the Living.