Holocaust survivor from Montreal to bike from Auschwitz to Krakow


WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — A Holocaust survivor living in Montreal will participate in the second Ride For The Living from Auschwitz to Krakow in Poland 70 years after making a similar journey by foot.

Marcel Zielinski was a 10-year-old Auschwitz prisoner liberated by the Soviet army in January 1945 when he, along with a group of children, walked the 55 miles from the camp to Krakow, his hometown, to search for his parents. On Friday, he will ride on a bicycle along the same route with his son, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters.

Ride for the Living is a fundraising event organized by the Jewish Community Center of Krakow. About 85 people from Krakow, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Israel and Germany have registered for this year’s ride. Participants will join the Jewish community of Krakow for Shabbat dinner and participate in the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and JCC Krakow’s 7@Nite Festival.

The ride was the idea of Robert Desmond, who in 2013 rode his bike from London through Normandy, Paris, Luxembourg, Nuremberg, Prague and Krakow to Auschwitz and described his journey on his blog.

“The idea is to do a ride from Auschwitz to the JCC not only to look at the history of Poland but the current life of modern-day, trendy Krakow, with its reborn Jewish community and the amazing JCC too,” Desmond said about the ride.

JCC Krakow’s executive director, Jonathan Ornstein, a ride participant, added: “By riding from Auschwitz to JCC Krakow, from the darkness to the light, Ride For The Living focuses attention on Poland’s amazing story of Jewish renewal, on a Jewish community that against all the odds is thriving, and we hope to see hundreds if not thousands of people on next year’s ride.”

Money raised during the first ride helped to organize a trip to Israel for 30 child survivors of the Holocaust from Krakow.

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