"On this journey you realize that you are part of a bigger family, and you are a strong link between generations. The hopes and dreams of our silenced live on in you. Accept the responsibility with pride, as you are about to take the trip that will change your life forever."
— Ben Lesser, Holocaust survivor
"Zachor", Remember the Holocaust
Zachor Holocaust Remembrance Foundation funds a student every year to attend the March of the Living.
"Jewish Nevada is committed to strengthening and supporting Holocaust education throughout our state to ensure that we honor those lives lost and cherish those who survived. The March of the Living is a transformative, educational experience, the kind of experience you won't find in a textbook or classroom. Jewish Nevada provides scholarship dollars helping to make it possible for every student to partake in this meaningful experience, should they choose. We must commit to never forget."
— Stefanie Tuzman, President & CEO, Jewish Nevada
Jewish Nevada provides scholarship opportunities for students wishing to attend the March of the Living.
“Even though I went to a Jewish school and was educated on the Holocaust, I never understood the magnitude of how much it truly effected my people. Looking in the gas chambers, seeing the scratches on the wall and looking in the ovens, I realized I could be looking at a place of one of my family members. I would never have the cousin who was supposed to have their bar or bar mitzvah.I realized in that moment how proud I was to be Jewish. Because of March of the Living, I felt the connection to go on and major in college in history and write a thesis about our history. I can’t thank the Audrey Merkin Fund enough for changing my life.”
- Maddie Lapping
“March of the living was one of the most impactful experiences I have had in my life. As a 16 year old going to concentration camps was eye opening and heart wrenching. I could feel my heart drop to the bottom of the floor every time I saw or heard a story of what happened. We were lucky to have survivors with us who told us their stories while sitting in Auschwitz. I was also so fortunate that my father and his father got to go with us, so we had three generations of Jews from just our family. We came together, we supported each other, and we lifted each other up throughout this whole trip. This trip was truly life changing and incredibly important for all Jewish teens and Jewish people to experience.”
- Lizzie Fuchs
My experience on the March of the Living was extremely personal. I am the granddaughter of two holocaust survivors, so I knew going into the trip how important it was for me to be there. My grandma Eva was around the same age as I was while on the march. To be in Auschwitz, the very place my grandma was mentally and physically tortured brought out so much emotion in me. I knew growing up how strong my grandparents were but seeing the camps firsthand truly affirmed their strength and perseverance to survive. This motivation for survival also translated to the creation of the Jewish state of Israel. To see sights where our people were persecuted, and then to fly over to Israel was empowering. In the midst of the ashes of Majdanek came this beautiful strong Jewish country. We are now the upcoming generation that must live on for our ancestors, and tell their stories on their behalf.”
- Kira Weisz
“I was fortunate enough to attend the March of the living where thousands of Jews from all over the world came together to march the infamous “death march” in Auschwitz to show our strength and that we are still living today. Although I attended 12 years ago, the memories of the march are still extremely vivid. As we are the last generation with Holocaust survivors, it is our responsibility to continue to share their stories. It is more important now than ever to have this life-changing experience.”
– Carly Saxe
“We made a promise to our survivors to never let their stories die and to never forget; because we’ve seen the proof and we’ve felt the proof. The great memories I have from this trip and the connection I now feel about my Judaism and the people of Israel will remain in my heart forever.”
-Sarah Bernardson (Memar)
My Journey on March of the Living 2023 What exactly is March of the Living? It’s an experience that I could talk about for hours or even days. At the beginning of 2023, I did not even truly know what the trip was. But now, I could not imagine how my life would be if I had not gone on this trip. Since I got back from the trip, many of my friends and family have asked me about the trip and what it was like. But I find myself lost about what I should tell them because there were so many impactful parts of this journey that I want to share with them. There were so many staggering waves of emotion that came with the schedule of the trip. The trip started off in Poland where our delegation came together as a group of strangers unknowing of what a great community we would form by the end of the trip. In Poland, we did many tours of concentration camps, synagogues, museums, cemeteries, and other places in Poland that hold Jewish history. Almost every place in Poland made a huge impact on me by changing my perspective on life as a whole. Some of the most impactful parts of the trip were when our group walked through and toured the concentration camps and the extermination camps. Our group walked through Auschwitz, Birkenau, Majdanek, and Treblinka. Before this trip, I had not learned much about these camps, but as I walked through them I was able to learn the history of what truly occurred at these camps. This part of the trip was difficult because of the emotional aspect. As I walked through the camps, I could almost envision the holocaust occurring right in front of me. Seeing the gas chambers, the cramped places where people were forced to sleep, and the piles of stuff that belonged to the people that were brought to the camps only made it seem so much more real. Our tour guide, Peppi, told us stories of the camp that included some moments of joy, but mostly moments of sadness and terror. Our group stayed close to each other, supporting each other each step of the way. We knew that we each had a connection to the holocaust through our ancestors being impacted by the holocaust, or by the fact that our religion was one of the main targets of this historical event. After the tour of Auschwitz, I wrote a journal entry and this is a piece of it: “It was really difficult to imagine these people getting all of their stuff taken away after they were led into thinking that they would be going to work and not be killed. We went through this image sort of movie-like room, which was really eye-opening to the fact that Jewish children couldn’t even grow up and lots of them spent their whole lives in Auschwitz.” Another piece of Poland that will stick with me forever is the cemeteries and one of the museums that we went to. While at the cemeteries, we heard about many of the courageous heroes of the holocaust. We heard about people who were saviors and others who tried to find the tiniest bits of joy while at the camps. The Polin Museum in Poland held so much information and presented it in such an interesting way. There were so many displays showing how the Jewish people used to live before and after the Holocaust. Even though there were many hard parts about Poland, there were also many fun parts to it. I got to form connections with the people in our region, as well as with people all over the world. The nights we all spent in the hotels or youth hostiles, talking and laughing helped us form bonds with each other. These friendships that were formed in Poland only got stronger as our group moved to Israel. Overall Poland had a huge impact on how I now view my life. Having the whole side of my dad’s family be from Poland, only made that part of the trip so much more meaningful. We started off Israel by gathering at Shechiyanu Beach. The Israel trip consisted of lots of celebrations, as we were there during Israel's Independence Week. While in Israel, I was able to feel a true sense of community. I felt like I was exactly where I belong, I was in my homeland. I could feel the love in the community not only from the people who were on the trip, but from the people in Israel. My favorite parts of Israel were the ones where I got to connect with the people. On one of our days, we went on a boat ride on the Kinneret and on one of the other days we went on a march to the Kotel. During both of these activities, I was able to meet so many great people from other delegations. Later on in Israel, I was able to reconnect with them when we went to Latrun and had a BBQ along with a concert. It was so interesting being able to hear how different people live from around the world and what they do in their daily lives compared to mine. On our second to last day in Israel, we did a StandWithUs program where we had a speaker teach us about Zionism. She also shared some great information with us about how we can fight against antisemitism. Then on our last day, we all attended Shabbat services. This was a great way to end the trip because it represents how the Jewish people are all connected. It shows how we all have to be there for each other and how we all embrace our own beliefs. Israel was a much different experience from Poland, but just as meaningful. I could feel the connection to my religion growing. I have learned how to embrace my Judaism and what I can do to continue my connections with other Jewish people. To sum up my experience, here is one of my journal entries from the end of the trip: “I just have so many emotions spinning through my head and half of them I don’t even know how to write about. I met so many amazing people and did so many things that will change my life forever. This whole trip was a blessing and I have definitely changed after this experience. I definitely want to go back to Poland and Israel someday. I feel most like myself and connected to Judaism when I am there.” — Kate Wingate
During the first two weeks of April, 2023, I had the privilege of co-chaperoning the delegation of teenagers from Las Vegas on the International March of the Living. While chaperoning may have been the title, this powerful journey brought us all together in ways that we were never truly prepared for. Over these fourteen days, we learned together, were inspired together, and built friendships with other teens with all different backgrounds. Our smart, engaging group of teens were quick to befriend the other delegations on our bus from San Diego and Cincinnati. Together we learned about Poland before the Holocaust, and what lead to a shared fate that Poles and Jews had during World War II. We marched with thousands and thousands of other teens, adults, and survivors from Auschwitz to Birkenau vowing that we will always remember what happened to our people - and to pledge that this type of atrocity will never happen again to anyone, anywhere. We saw death camps, concentration camps, Jewish ghettos and cities that were once rich with Jewish life. There were some tough moments and heavy discussion; there is a big difference about learning all of this in a classroom versus having your feet in the mud where it all happened. We cried together and held each other up; these teens were remarkable in the way were there for each other! As we traveled further away from the debris of a sad country, we saw a new Poland rising from the ashes, a Jewish community slowly returning to where once was their home. We visited the JCC in Krakow where they have the first Jewish preschool in Poland in over 70 years and saw the immense skyscrapers in Warsaw. From a land with such a heavy history of our people, the group was very excited to be on a plane heading to our homeland - Israel! We were fortunate to commemorate Yom HaZikaron with IDF soldiers as we honored those who have given the ultimately sacrifice for our Holy Land, to then quickly celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut on a party boat in the Kinneret! While in Israel, the teens saw the vast differences throughout the country; from the traditional landscape of Jerusalem to the thriving metropolis of Tel Aviv, the young adults fit as much into the week as possible, including Masaddah, Machine Yehuda, and as much shwarma as one can eat! After an adventure of a lifetime, the Las Vegas delegation was excited to come home and share their experience with their family and friends. Some journaled, others wrote poetry, and all took photos - each in their unique, individual way trying to savor the moments and memories they made. While the March of the Living did not turn anybody into a Holocaust expert overnight, it has not only educated our students and prepared them for future discussion, but it has also opened their minds to a deeper connection to their Jewish heritage. — DJ Sinai