(JTA) — Former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky, who now heads the Jewish Agency for Israel, led more than 10,000 people in the March of the Living in Poland on Yom Hashoah.
"We have come here today to remember. But it is easy to forget," Sharansky said at the beginning of the march at the Auschwitz concentration camp on Monday, Holocaust Remembrance Day. "It is easy to say that the lessons of Auschwitz have been learned. It is easy to say those two magic words: Never again. The hard part is giving those words meaning. That is our challenge. That is your challenge."
Participants from 45 countries, not all Jewish, took part in the march. Black ribbons were attached to Israeli flags carried during the march as a demonstration of sympathy to the Polish people on the loss of their president and many of the country’s leaders in a plane crash on Saturday.
Israel’s top-ranked tennis star, Shahar Pe’er, joined the march accompanied by her grandmother, who is a survivor of Auschwitz.
A siren sounded throughout Israel for two minutes on Monday morning in honor of the victims of the Holocaust. Following the siren, memorial ceremonies began at Yad Vashem, where wreaths were laid, and at the Knesset, which held a ceremony during which the names of Holocaust survivors were read.