A virtual March of the Living

April 14, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The 2020 Virtual March of the Living will be aired on Wednesday, April 22 at 9:00AM  on the MOTL website at motl.org/live, on Facebook at facebook.com/motlorg, as well as on Jewish Broadcasting Service at jbstv.org/watch-live. The program will include a special address by the President of Israel and interviews with survivors, educators, MOTL alumni and leaders.

Some of the Australian participants in a previous year

Among those who had planned to travel to Poland to participate is Victorian State MPkDavid Southwick.

He told J-Wire: “It is with deep regret to hear that the 2020 March of the Living (MOTL) has been cancelled due to the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

This disappointing news comes after months spent preparing for the first-ever parliamentary delegation from Australia to participate on the tour.

This tour was intended to provide parliamentary participants with a first-hand experience of the unimaginable horrors of the Holocaust as well as an opportunity to experience the hope and optimism of the modern Jewish community by visiting Israel.

As we see a rise in Anti-Semitism at home and abroad, it is essential that Members of Parliament are educated as to the unique form of hate born from the Holocaust along with the chance to witness the resilience of the Jewish community and achievements of the State of Israel has made in only 72 years.

Having previously led a number of Parliamentary delegations to Israel but never having had the opportunity to visit Poland as part of MOTL, I am personally greatly disappointed by this cancellation, yet understand that the safety of delegates, staff and guests must always come first. I would like to thank MOTL President, Cedric Geffen and his team for all their tireless efforts in organising our trip and the countless hours they spend volunteering for this wonderful cause to educate others about the atrocities of the Holocaust. I would also like to thank my Parliamentary Colleagues – Juliana Addison MP (Labor), Neil Angus MP (Liberal), James Newbury MP (Liberal), Edward O’Donohue MP (Liberal) and Nina Taylor MP (Labor) for their willingness to join the trip.

Although disappointed, this cancellation only makes me more determined to organise a greater Parliamentary delegation in the future, including federal representatives and MP’s from other States. The lessons embodied by the Holocaust and the modern State of Israel remain as relevant as ever and this temporary setback only strengthens my determination to share these essential experiences with as many of my colleagues as possible.”

Holocaust survivor Adelaide-based Andrew Steiner was also planning to go. He said: “Being a survivor of the Shoah, I do not take things for granted, Thus, my disappointment is tempered. “

The renowned sculptor added: “I am greatly saddened by the enormous unfolding tragedy and its devastating impact.”

Adam Geha commented: “I participated in MOTL last year. I’ve also funded two people from my company (EG) to attend this year but unfortunately due to COVID19 the event has been postponed. Both of them are obviously disappointed and keen to participate next year instead.”

Australian president of MOTL Cedric Geffen told J-Wire: “It is with great sadness that this year’s March of the Living  was cancelled due to the Corona pandemic.

In light of this 31-year-old pilgrimage – of ‘being there’, walking the road of those who never returned, sensing the enormity of the tragedy and brutality, grasping the incomprehensible depths to which humanity can lower itself – being curtailed, it is incumbent on us to focus on other ways of honouring those who perished, recalling the acts of bravery of those who risked their lives to save others, of revering and loving those who survived and resolutely and unwaveringly vowing to do whatever we can to abolish all forms of discrimination, injustice and oppression in our world.
March of the Living Australia is proud to support and partner with a multitude of on-line initiatives that hopefully will (ironically) bring us all together in the name of commemoration and memorialisation. These on-line initiatives provide the opportunity to the community at large to share these special moments and in a way exposes even more people to Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) and hopefully to the resolution of partnering in the fight for a better world. Please join us and commit to our campaign – #nevermeansnever .”


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