(JTA) — Virtual memorial plaques were projected on to the “Arbeit Macht Frei” gates at Auschwitz-Birkenau in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day.
More than 10,000 of the plaques were uploaded to the March of the Living online platform, NeverMeansNever, replacing the march’s tradition of placing messages on plaques on the former concentration camp’s train tracks. The plaques illuminated the gates on Monday night, the start of Yom Hashoah.
Among the international Jewish figures who contributed plaques were Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Mayim Bialik, Natan Sharansky, ambassadors Ron Dermer and David Friedman, Isaac Herzog and Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the former chief rabbi of the United Kingdom.
Some 10,000 people from 60 countries had been scheduled to participate in March of the Living at Auschwitz-Birkenau on Yom Hashoah before it was canceled due to the coronavirus crisis.
“This is the first time in 32 years that the March of the Living has not taken place on Holocaust Memorial Day, but we must never let the flame of memory be extinguished,” said the march’s chair, Dr. Shmuel Rosenman. “We moved our activities to the virtual space and in this way, we have ensured that Auschwitz-Birkenau is not abandoned on this important day.”