“When a survivor of the Holocaust holds hands with a Rwandan student in Auschwitz, and when they dry each other tears and learn from one another, we know that Hitler and tyrants like him can be defeated.”

— MRH 2001 Participant

 

 “The trip to Poland has been an experience that I shall never forget. Now I understand more clearly the role that we need to play in educating our families and our perspectives communities on the highly relevant and pressing issues on racism and antisemitism that occurred and continue to occur in this world we live in.”

— MRH 2003 Participant

 

“The March of Remembrance and Hope forced us all to transcend our religious, political, and cultural boundaries in order to bear witness to the common humanity we all share.”

—MRH 2003 participant

 

...my deep sense of loss was accompanied by something greater; something that restored my faith. It was accompanied by hope [which I found] in my fellow participants. Each of my companions has a gift of giving me the ability to attempt to make a difference. ...The camp [Auschwitz-Birkenau] that was once run by savage murderers was now overcome by people who condemned such acts of evil. This gave me hope that one day we shall overcome.

—MRH 2003 participant

 

The most transformative moments of my trip were those spent with people who endured the horrors of the Holocaust. The survivors’ passion and drive were unlike those I’ve ever encountered in any other human beings...Without the slightest sign of fatigue, they shared with us deeply personal stories with universal implications about human suffering, perseverance, and heroism....I looked around me and I realized that with me were hundreds of young people who wanted to learn, who wanted to remember, who wanted to prevent things like this from happening in the future. I gained hope by listening to them and by sharing with them my own fears and insecurities. I came to realize that this is the only route to hope. We must listen; we must welcome opportunities to become exposed to other cultures and to other peoples; and we must educate each other. Hope can only be realized through mutual understanding. Only through such an understanding can we promote knowledge and diminish hatred. And then maybe, just maybe, will we be able to say “never again”.”

MRH 2003 Participant

“We cannot say we do not know.... I challenge you as I challenge myself to be a beacon of change and dare to question any inhumane treatment of others. I know that we cannot take care of all the world’s injustices, but I urge you to at least identify one step that you can take toward making a positive difference, however small. This is how change begins.”

—MRH 2006 participant

I was reminded that keeping silent – whether about myself, or silencing someone else by not speaking up for them, when they’re caught in the line of hatred – is not okay. Whether I am a Jew, a gay person, or a Filipino, I am offended as a human - because by keeping quiet, I lock someone else in a prison of silence and I am letting hate win. Maybe if we all stand up for that group of people we may not belong to, it can end the perpetuation of hate. I wish someone had stood up for me, so that I wouldn’t have had to go through what I did, but if I have the simple power of being that person now – why not?

—MRH 2009 participant

 

No one spoke a word, but it was not silence that I heard. It was the tramp of our feet on this journey of remembrance, the sound of our determination to never let the same horror happen again. And it was then that I realized that even a small walk like ours was a step in our efforts to change the world.

—MRH 2009 Participant

 

The March of Remembrance and Hope offers hope in the generation that realizes differences can and should be celebrated, rather than eliminated or suppressed. Regardless of our differences, and perhaps even because of them, we learned about the necessity of having the civic courage to uphold human dignity so that we can all thrive together. We are the creators of what will one day become history. I am filled with hope that with our lives we can choose to write a beautiful narrative because we have learned so much by choosing to confront such a horrific one.

—MRH 2010 Participant

 

For me the 'heart of the matter' during this trip was finding the hope. Our educator Sharon helped me with this daunting task when she told the story of one worker in a gas chamber. She read how one Jewish man who was given the unimaginable job of running the gas chambers to murder other Jews. However, when he saw a 'selection' of Jews arrive at the chamber from his hometown, he was unable to carry through his disgusting task. He actually walked into the gas chamber with them to join them in death, until one of the other Jews persuaded him out of the chamber. The story really touched me with the amount of sympathy, empathy and human compassion the men were still able to find and experience while living in the most gruesome, dehumanized place our Earth has ever seen.

—MRH 2010 Participant


Standing under the monument of ashes in Majdanek was the highlight of [MRH] for me. Surrounded by people from different backgrounds whom I had met physically a couple of days ago but had now come to see as family as the rain poured heavily was a wide awakening: the message was our common humanity. From Faigie and Pinchas, the survivors amongst us from this atrocity, to my fellow Canadians, I realized that I could have ended up among the heap of ashes and so could have a majority of the group. To me, not to speak up is not an option anymore.
Thank you [MRH] team for this great awakening.

—MRH 2010 Participant

 

I am not the same person I was before I went on the March of Remembrance and Hope.  I feel like the entire experience … has been a bright light in my life because although we were examining, studying and experiencing aspects of the darkest part of human history, we were at the same time experiencing some of the brightest and strongest aspects of humanity.  We saw aspects of humanity revealed to us through different stories and struggles of people who were survivors, we had the sacred opportunity to be in the presence of two survivors that had an unwavering belief in the goodness of humanity and hope for our shared future, and we had each other.  With the steadfast support of each other, we were able to learn in our entirety.  We used our emotions, our intellect, our physical bodies, and our spirits to experience every aspect of the MRH as much as possible.  We connected and learned not only with and from each other, but with the places, artifacts, energies and legacies of the sites that we traveled to and the people we encountered.  Without the support of the people who were strangers one day and kindred spirits the next, I do not believe I would have been able to handle this experience.  …The other participants, the facilitators, the academics, the survivors….all had the most moving affect on me.  They were there for me.  …I realized that while I may have a hard time believing in human kind as a whole at times, I believed in the people around me with my whole heart and being. They were a part of the change I wanted to see, and I was a part of them. And the world may be a big and sometimes dark place, but it’s made up of people…of individuals….and if there is a world full of people like the ones I went on the March of Remembrance and Hope with…then perhaps we really can make the world a better place after all…and perhaps we really can make the statement “Never Again” a reality.  The people I met on the March of Remembrance and Hope were able to help me believe in the possibilities of humanity again. 

—MRH 2010 Participant

 

I think about our incredible survivors that joined us to share their strength and stories. Faigie and Pinchas were there with us for every step of the journey… instilling in us this incredible notion of moving forward, in believing in the beauty of people, and believing in us. The way Faigie spoke with such conviction about life and family, about faith and God, and about hope and a future is something I will never forget. The way she clinched her fists and raised them to the skies with tears in her eyes is a vision I’ll hold close. The way Pinchas sang, time and time again, will echo in my ears forever. And the way his face lit up when we got the chance to sing with him is something I will never forget.”

—2011 MRH Participant

 

MRH takes students and gives each and every one of us the tools to absorb this social reality that, depending on one’s background, can feel very detached.  The depths of inhumanity are presented in a way that we – the future young leaders of tomorrow – may not ever have to feel the burden of the pain and suffering but bear witness to this time in our history, remember, and work towards within our own individual paths in life to ensure Never Again/Jamais Plus.

—2011 MRH Participant

 

As we started to visit the memorials, a feeling of anxiety began to cloud me. I was all of sudden face to face with the realities of what had happened here. I started to understand the impact the Holocaust had on its victims. Although I have studied the Holocaust and have read articles and books about it, nothing prepared me to face the truth as I saw it on this trip. The memorial sites changed my framework of learning about the holocaust because it humanized this atrocity for me. It wasn't just a random name or a random picture anymore - it was real people, with real stories who experienced real horror.

—MRH 2015 Participant

 

This was the most dynamic educational experience I have received, perhaps ever. Story was not sacrificed for fact and fact was not obscured or kept separate from human experience or emotion surrounding the experience. I began to feel deeply the sadness of a land touched again and again by loss, by brutal and impossible questions.

—MRH Participant 2015

 

I will never forget the memorial service. I was able to say with my peers, "You will not be forgotten. Hope is still here." in the midst of one of the most dark places located on this earth. I had the privilege of singing a song of hope "Amazing Grace" out loud as a kind of reminder that beauty can still pervade a place so dark. Shakespeare said something about beauty bypassing the mind and grabbing the soul. Music did this for me. There was a real soul connection to this place and these people that I gained in these quiet moments.

—MRH 2015 Participant

 

Visiting the death camps was by far the toughest part of this trip for me. Along with an outrage of anger that was now beginning to consume me, a terrible cloud of angst, sadness and deep feelings of resentment toward the perpetrators, began to brew within me. The pragmatic me understood that these were not feelings i could act on, but the emotional side of me wanted to scream, to cry, to do something that could help me release these feelings inside of me. As we continued the day and we did the march, I began to release some of these thoughts...the memorial ceremony allowed for a time of reflection and I allowed myself to let go of the buildup of anger inside me...and the Shabbat dinner was a true blessing for me - looking around and especially at Pinchas and to see him smiling even after all he went through gave me the jolt I needed to resolve my emotions... it reminded me that humanity overall is kind and forgiving and that human goodness will always prevail the evils that we face.

—MRH 2015 Participant

 

The trip was constantly bridging the line of education and experience in the most beautiful of ways... True to the MRH program, the tears and anger that we faced on this day [at Rabka] were followed by meeting another inspiring figure, Paulina Kisielewska, whose story inspired hope and instilled faith in humanity once again, something that many of us needed at this point. We ended the night as a family once again, singing songs and putting our arms around each other at Havdallah, swaying back and forth and mentally preparing for the following day. 

—MRH 2015 Participant

 

To be at a place where hundreds of thousands of people died and have there be no immediately obvious evidence - no proof left behind, save of course the memorial, was very stressful, it almost made me feel defeated. To think that humanity could do this to itself, and that there was some potential for it to remain hidden and masked, really drove home the importance of education, of remembrance and of action. 

—MRH 2015 Participant

 

My emotions and my mind were confronted with the realities of the atrocities that have occurred and continue to in our world. I look forward to the ways in which the MRH experience will continue to teach me to challenge my own biases and allow me to grow to be even more inclusive and equitable to those that I share this planet with. 

—MRH 2015 Participant

 

We have to stand when groups are oppressed, and the trip created a very powerful drive to make change when faced with adversity. the trip conveys how education creates a connection between individuals and groups. 

—MRH 2015 Participant

 

Meeting a Righteous Among the Nations is a great example of where the "Hope" comes in for MRH. By running this program for educated and passionate youth today, MRH is ensuring that each year they send off even more inspired adults who will encourage this difference in the world. Within the first few hours heading home to Toronto from Poland, the entire group banded together to fight an occurrence of racism and oppression. 

—MRH 2015 Participant

 

This forces reflection. It's not just hearing a story and moving on. You must pause and think why you are there: what happened, why it happened, and how it should never happen again

—MRH 2015 Participant

 

This program is changing lives and changing the communities those lives interact with. To go on this program was one of the best decisions I've made this year and in my life. Thank you for all your work and care.

—MRH 2016 Participant

 

I am so grateful for being given the opportunity to participate in the March of Remembrance and Hope program. It exceeded my expectations by stimulating me academically, emotionally and spiritually. What I learned and experienced will have an impact on me for the rest of my life.

—MRH 2016 Participant

 

MRH revalidated my beliefs on human rights, an emotional, physical, and intellectual affirmation. MRH is an experience I wish everyone could have, one that everyone should have. I am forever grateful of this experience and will try to share it and what I have learned from it as widely as I can, to everyone who hasn't been as fortunate as I. It is a once in a lifetime adventure, to partake on with peers from across the country, with a mosaic of experiences, with mentors, personalities, and of course, Elly, our survivor. MRH was an act of defiance that sets off many others, if gives its participants the spark, assurance, and ability to step forwards as an ally. I could never say how much this experience meant to me, except to show it with my actions for the rest of my life. My actions will demonstrate how deeply this has changed and strengthened me.

—MRH 2016 Participant