MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Only the sound of the ram’s horn was heard as thousands of people took part in the March of the Living, a two-mile walk from the Auschwitz concentration camp to Birkenau, where more than a million Jews perished in Nazi gas chambers.
“I can’t even explain my feelings,” said marcher Oliver Kovacs. “I have learned about it, but seeing it is unbelievable. It’s horrific. I can’t even explain it really.”
The March of the Living is meant to contrast with the Nazi death marches, in which prisoners walked to their deaths. The march, in which participants walk quietly, draws people from all over the world.
In South Florida, hundreds gathered at the Holocaust Memorial on Miami Beach Sunday. The emphasis of the multi-generational event was on teaching young people about one of history’s darkest chapters.
“This was my grandmother’s family that perished in the way,” said Linda Schmier. “My grandmother came to America, her baby brother went to Israel and the rest of the family perished and these are their names.”
In Israel, sirens blasted across cities like Tel-Aviv as Israelis observed a moment of silence. They remembered those killed as Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas called the Holocaust the most heinous crime against humanity.
The sign at Auschwitz reads, “Work Makes (you) Free”, but in fact the truly important message is for humanity to never forget the atrocities committed here.