The Virtual March of the Living

Thousands of digital posters projected onto infamous Auschwitz gate and Israel's Habima Theater ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Yoni Kempinski ,

Virtual March of the Living
Virtual March of the Living
March of the Living

For the first time in 32 years, the annual March of the Living will not be held on Holocaust Remembrance Day, due to social distancing restrictions imposed following the worldwide coronavirus outbreak.

Despite this break with tradition, however, memorial activities will continue, including a digital march in place of the March of the Living. More than 12,000 people took part in the virtual March of the Living.

Among the other digital activities set up in place of the usual memorial events were two parallel events in Auschwitz and in Tel Aviv, in which thousands of the digital ‘posters’ were projected onto the walls of Israel’s Habima Theater, and the Birkenau Gate at the entrance to Auschwitz Monday evening.

While the traditional March of the Living event includes the posting of personal signs at the entrance of Auschwitz, with hundreds of thousands of signs posted over the past 32 years, this year the signs were replaced with digital ‘posters’.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin was the first to ‘post’ a digital poster, followed by Holocaust survivors and their families, top IDF brass, the chairman of the Jewish Agency, US Ambassador David Friedman, Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, actors from Habima, singer Shlomo Artzi, players from the Beitar Jerusalem soccer club, Israel’s national soccer team, actress Moran Attias, singer Ivri Leider, and thousands of participants from sixty different countries.

During the event outside of the Habima Theater, actors dressed in black stood in front of the displays in a moment of silence.

“Today it is everyone’s responsibility to combat anti-Semitism, Holocaust deniers, and those who would distort the Holocaust,” said Aharon Tamir, vice-chairman of the March of the Living. “This year we weren’t there physically, and we did not march from Auschwitz to Birkenau, but in our hearts and our thoughts and with our faith we will be there! Tens of thousands of virtual memorial posters were with us and helped to complete the unusual event.”