Jews march to Auschwitz to honor Holocaust victims
Participants of the traditional 'March of the Living' walk behind
a railway track inside the former Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi Death
Camp near Oswiecim, southern Poland, Monday, May 2, 2011.
Thousands of people from around the world take part in the annual
March of the Living paying tribute to the victims of the Holocaust
at the former Nazi Death Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. (AP Photo/Bela
WARSAW, Poland — About 7,000 Jews marched to the former German
Nazi death camp of Auschwitz on Monday in memory of the 6 million
Participants in the 20th annual March of the Living were carrying
Israeli flags. They started from the former camp's gate with the
infamous "Arbeit Macht Frei" ("Work Sets You Free") sign.
The crowd walked about 3 kilometers (2 miles) from the red brick
buildings of Auschwitz I to the wooden barracks and gas chambers
of Birkenau, or Auschwitz II, where a memorial ceremony was held
at a monument to the camp's victims.
The march, which is traditionally held on Holocaust Memorial Day,
also included some Holocaust survivors.
Between 1942-1945, Jews from across Europe were brought to
Birkenau by rail and killed in its gas chambers. At least 1.1
million people — mostly Jews, Poles and Gypsies — died that way or
from starvation, disease and forced labor at the camp that German
Nazis built in occupied Poland during World War II.
The Auschwitz camp was liberated Jan. 27, 1945 by Soviet troops.
Meanwhile, in Lithuania dozens of people paid tribute to the
nearly 200,000 Jews who died 70 years ago when the Nazis invaded
Waving Israeli and Lithuanian flags, about 100 demonstrators paid
tribute to the dead by marching to the Holocaust survivor memorial
outside the capital, Vilnius.
Visiting Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said it was
important to remember the 6 million Jews murdered in Europe by the
Nazis because "anti-Semitism, xenophobia and racism ... are still
threatening all of us."
Some 90 percent of the country's pre-war Jewish population of
220,000 were murdered by the Nazis and local collaborators — the
country's largest loss of life in such a short time. Most of the
70,000 Jews in the capital were killed within a few months in