300 ORT students on March of the Living


17 April 2007 300 ORT students on March of the Living Some 300 ORT students from Argentina, Czech Republic, the Baltic republics, Belarus, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine have congregated in Poland to commemorate Yom HaShoah. The teenagers are spending a total of four days in Poland visiting historical sites in Warsaw, Lublin and Krakow. But the climax was their participation in yesterdays March of the Living, the annual Yom HaShoah commemoration by Jewish teenagers. The ORT group was one of the largest on the march. Wearing World ORT t-shirts and carrying World ORT flags, they marched with thousands of others the three kilometres from Auschwitz to Birkenau, the Holocausts largest concentration camp complex. The march follows the route that Jews were forced to take to the gas chambers of Birkenau. Despite the solemnity of the occasion, participants found the March of the Living an uplifting event. For Natasha Liaznik, 16, a student at the ORT Bialik school in Belarus, the event had helped her define what the Holocaust meant to her personally but it had also strengthened her Jewish identity and her hope for the future. I have seen so many young Jewish people all together and I feel so proud, she said. I thought that I would be very sad because the Holocaust is such a tragedy for our nation; but I feel very happy because I feel were alive and we can change the history of the world. It was Lily Tirulovas first visit to Auschwitz and it had made a deep impression. The buildings, the museums, the people, the atmosphere have made me feel what happened, the 16-year-old ORT Moscow student said. Its helped me to understand the Holocaust better because while we learned about how people felt we can now imagine it more clearly. ORT students at Auschwitz yesterday. The ORT students have been touring sites of Jewish historical significance including the Warsaw Ghetto, the Majdanek death camp, Oscar Schindlers factory and other sites in Krakow, Yeshiva Chochmai Lublin, and the Tarnow Ghetto. We also wanted the children to learn about the role of the World ORT Union during the war, said Avi Ganon, World ORTs Representative in Russia, Belarus and Central Asia, who was instrumental in organising ORTs participation in the event. We presented them with specially prepared historical material describing ORTs activities in Poland before, during and after the war. At Auschwitz, just before the march started, Mr Ganon introduced some of the students to Israeli Education Minister Professor Yuli Tamir. She was very impressed by the ORT presence and told me how important it was that there were groups at March of the Living from all over the world, Mr Ganon said. Avi Ganon with Yuli Tamir and ORT students. World ORT is the worlds largest Jewish education and vocational training non-government organisation and has benefited more than 3 million people Jewish and non-Jewish in 100 countries since its foundation in 1880.