Top IDF brass, led by Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, arrived in Poland on Sunday, in preparation for a tour of the death camps, and for participation in the March of the Living on Monday, Holocaust Heroes and Martyrs Memorial Day. Gantz and top army staff, including Head of Personnel Branch Orna Barbibay, IDF Ground Troops Commander Guy Tzur, and others, were welcomed in a special ceremony by the Polish army.
The first stop for the Israeli party was the Krakow concentration camp. In the camp's visitor book, Gantz wrote, “The day is clear but cold. It is impossible to connect the quiet around me and the unspeakable horrors that took place in this camp. Israel is the security that such horrors will not repeat themselves, and the IDF is the protective wall of the national home, the place of security for all Jews."
“I am proud to stand at the head of the army and the head of this delegation, which seeks, with bowed head and its own modest way, to remember those who were murdered, with a sense of honor to the survivors, to learn the lessons of the past and promise the security of the future,” he added.
On Monday, Gantz will lead the “March of the Living,” with some 10,000 participants from around the world walking from Auschwitz to Birkenau. This is the first time an active IDF Chief of Staff will be leading the march.
During his visit to Poland Gantz will meet with Poland's defense minister and the Chief of Staff of the Polish Army. Gantz will also lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier in Warsaw, where a military ceremony will be held.