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UPDATE: Polish president joins March of the Living, denounces Russia's war on Ukraine

28.04.2022 19:30
Poland's President Andrzej Duda on Thursday denounced Russia’s war against Ukraine as he attended the annual March of the Living at the site of the former Nazi German Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp together with Holocaust survivors and around 2,000 people from more than a dozen countries.
Photo:Jakub Szymczuk/KPRP

Continuing the tradition from previous years, the marchers walked the three-kilometre route from Auschwitz's infamous “Arbeit macht frei” (Work Sets You Free) gate to the crematoria of the nearby Birkenau site to pay tribute to Jews and others who were murdered by the German Nazis during World War II.

This year's march took place after a two–year break caused by the COVID–19 pandemic. It was held in the shadow of Russia's war on neighbouring Ukraine.

In a speech during the event, Duda paid tribute to the victims of the Holocaust and also spoke about Russia's two-month-old invasion of Ukraine and the suffering of the Ukrainian people.

"We come here to show that while during World War II, Nazi Germany managed to wipe my country off the map, wipe it out and murder Poles, including Polish Jews, we will never again allow something like this to happen," Duda said.

"We are also here to show that there is absolutely no consent to the attempt to take freedom and kill the Ukrainian people with impunity, as is happening today in the occupied territories of Ukraine," he added.

"We are here to show that every nation has a sacred right to life, has a sacred right to cultivate its traditions, has a sacred right to develop," Duda also said.

He told the gathering: "Those who murder people and break international law must be held accountable. No more war, no more Holocaust."

Duda also said in his speech that the crime of the Holocaust decades ago "was born out of hatred."

He added: "We shout loudly: no to hatred, no to anti-Semitism, no to anti-Ukrainianism, no to anti-Polonism."

Those gathered observed a minute's silence for the victims of the war in Ukraine.

The March of the Living is an annual Holocaust education project, first held in 1988, that sees thousands of Jewish students from all over the world flock to southern Poland "to examine the roots of prejudice, intolerance and hatred," according to organisers.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau camp operated in German-occupied southern Poland between May 1940 and January 1945. It was the largest of the German Nazi concentration and death camps during World War II.

More than 1.1 million people, mostly European Jews, as well as Poles, Roma, Soviet POWs and people of many other nationalities, perished there before the camp was liberated on January 27, 1945.


Source: IAR, PAPAPprezydent.pl