by Jobst Bittner, Founder and President of the March of Life Movement to the Marches of Life 2023
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,
Together with my wife Charlotte, I am sending you greetings in the name of the worldwide March of Life Movement. The motto for our marches this year is: “Uprising against Antisemitism” – and we have reason to do just that!
Together with all Jewish friends, we commemorate and honor the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust on the Jewish Holocaust Memorial Day Yom HaShoah, who were degraded, robbed of their rights, and murdered by the Hitler regime in Germany at the time of National Socialism.
The Holocaust was only possible because people were indifferent to antisemitism and hatred of Jews. At this March, we also honor the Holocaust survivors and their children, grandchildren and great- grandchildren who carry the pain of the Holocaust within them to this day.
Why are we doing this? The March of Life movement was birthed in Germany in 2007. The descendants of the Nazi perpetrators no longer wanted to be silent about the antisemitism and hatred towards the Jewish people of their ancestors. For this reason, they organized Marches of Life with the aim to “remember – reconcile – and to make a statement against antisemitism and hatred of Jews together with Jews and Christians, and to make a statement of friendship with Israel.”
Antisemitism exists in every country and in every nation. We as Christians are ashamed and mourn the fact that in the course of 2000 years of church history, the poison of anti-Judaism has been carried into every nation. Jews, who sought protection in other countries during the Holocaust, too often were met with defensiveness, indifference and rejection.
We also want to commemorate the Jewish resistance fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising with the motto “Uprising against Antisemitism”. They represent an important part of Jewish history.
April 19, 2023 marks the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. After some 280,000 people were deported from the ghetto and murdered between July and September 1942, a group of poorly armed fighters managed to resist the overwhelming force of the SS and Wehrmacht for nearly four weeks. Most of the 1000 fighters were between 19 and 25 years old. For almost all the inhabitants of the Warsaw Ghetto, their lives ended in the Nazi death camps. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising became a symbol of Jewish resistance.
Today, hatred against Jews is again displayed openly in the streets. Antisemitic hostilities are on the rise worldwide. The motto “Uprising Against Antisemitism” is meant to remind us that 80 years after the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, we do not want to look the other way, but actively make a statement against any kind of hostility towards Jews.
This year, Marches of Life will take place around the world with tens of thousands of participants. We wish every participant the courage to personally raise their voice with our motto “Uprising Against Antisemitism” – today and on any other day!
Thank you for joining us today!