Holocaust survivors visit Auschwitz on March of the Living anniversary, reflect on attacks from last year

Several thousand Jews, including Holocaust survivors personally affected by the October 7 attacks, walked through the former Auschwitz Nazi German death camp on Monday for the annual March of the Living ceremony in Poland. Walking along the 1.8 mile path towards the crematoria of Birkenau, they paid tribute to the millions of Jews murdered by the Nazis during World War Two. This year’s ceremony was overshadowed by the events last year when 1,200 people were killed in a Hamas-led attack and 253 hostages were taken, according to Israeli tallies. Daniel Louz, a 90-year-old whose hometown Kibbutz Beeri lost a tenth of its residents to the Palestinian attackers, came to the Auschwitz camp on Monday for the first time since his mother’s family was killed there in 1942. “I am convinced that on October 7 in Beeri the good souls (of the Holocaust dead) protected me and did not let the Hamas criminals shoot at our home,” Louz told Reuters. “So that I might be able to tell the story. I am really thankful to you all.” More than 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, perished in gas chambers or from starvation, cold and disease at Auschwitz, which Germans set up in occupied Poland during World War Two. More than three million of Poland’s 3.2 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis, accounting for about half of the Jews killed in . “Prior to October 7 it is my belief … that the worst event in human history happened on these grounds. That this place, the very word Auschwitz, speaks volumes in one word about fear, death, destruction, annihilation,” Phyllis Greenberg Heideman, President of the International March of the Living, said during Monday’s event. “And then came October 7, and perhaps we have to come as a people to the realization that perhaps in some ways the Shoah (Holocaust) isn’t over for us. It’s not a competition, certainly not a comparison, it’s a continuum.”