March of the Memory in Krakow


By Mike Urbaniak, 22 March 2007


KRAKOW, Poland (EJP)--- Hundreds of people, including a large group of Israeli youths, marched through the streets of Krakow on March 11 in an annual commemoration of the thousands of Krakow Jews killed by the Nazis during WWII.

The March of Memory began at the Krakow Ghetto Heroes Square and threaded through the city to site of the former Plaszow Concentration Camp.

While many of the participants fell silent during the memorial walk, the Israeli youngsters celebrated the continuation of Judaism in Israel, singing Hebrew songs as they marched.

Lili Haber, president of the Association of Krakovians in Israel and Ilona Dworak-Cousin, chairwoman of the Israel-Poland Friendship Association in Israel, were also in attendance.

In her moving speech Dworak-Cousin noted the presence of survivors at the event. "Here, with us, is a woman who witnessed all what was happening here. She was then a five-year old girl. These screams she heard 64 years ago, she hears today. She lives because she was saved by Poles and today she can tell us what was going on here during the Holocaust," she said.

Passing on the memories

Wieslaw Starowicz, a deputy mayor of Krakow, stressed that "the huge suffering of Krakow Jews can't be forgotten."

And the chairman of Krakow Jewish community Tadeusz Jakubowicz, himself a survivor of the ghetto, added, looking at the youth "we, old people, are not going to live forever, that's why it is so important to pass the memory to young generations. I'm so happy you're here".

The Krakow Ghetto, where more than 16,000 Jews were imprisoned by the Nazis, was established on March 21, 1941.

The ghetto was liquidated on March 13 and 14, 1943 when Nazis decided to move all people to the Plaszow Concentration Camp.

The Jewish population of Krakow before the war was 65,000. Only 1,000 Krakow Jews survived the Holocaust.
Today around 500 Jews live in the city.