Holocaust survivor Arek Hirsh has relived the infamous “death marches” of 1945 on Monday night at an event to fundraise for a five-day educational visit through Poland.
Organisers of the inaugural Hampstead event to raise money for March of the Living said £130,000 was committed to pay for a programme that takes hundreds of young Jews through Auschwitz on Yom Ha’Shoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day).
Hirsh described marching for “three days with no food or water in freezing temperatures wearing just striped pyjamas,” adding: “It is incredible to think that now we are joined by young people from around the world for a March of the Living.”
This year’s visit is already sold-out but March of the Living UK chair Scott Saunders said the aim of the fundraising was to make sure it “becomes a rite of passage for every Jewish student in the UK”.
Speaking after the event, he said: “Education is at the core of what we do. The survivors’ stories are at the heart of that educational process. It is imperative that their message is heard as widely as possible.”