Over 700 participants from a variety of religious and educational backgrounds from all across Canada participate annually on the March of the Living.
The International March of the Living brings together Jewish youth from Israel, Canada, the United States, Mexico, France, Great Britain, South Africa, Australia, South America, Eastern Europe, Russia, Hungary, and Romania.
The program will include visits to a number of Polish cities, towns, and villages that were once vibrant centres of Jewish life and learning. You will also visit concentration camps and death camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau, Plaszow, Majdanek, and Treblinka where much of European Jewry was annihilated. You will witness hearing first-hand stories from our beloved survivors in the places they survived. Your experience in Poland will be marked by special observances including joining thousands of international youth on the International March of the Living on Yom Ha'Shoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) – you will march from Auschwitz to Birkenau on the same path Holocaust victims marched over 75 years ago.
The itinerary in Poland is busy and includes very little downtime. The days are full and begin early in the morning until late at night. There is a significant amount of driving in order to see as many sites as possible. In general, the trip overnights in hotels in Warsaw and Krakow.
The trip continues to Israel, where the pace of the trip becomes a little more relaxed. You will visit a number of exciting places and ancient sites. On Yom Ha'Zikaron (Israel's Remembrance Day), – students will take part in ceremonies honouring Israel's soldiers who gave their lives in defence of their country. The next evening, Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israel's Independence Day), will include a celebration in honour of the establishment of the State of Israel. The following day is the International March of the Living Yom Ha'atzmaut celebration with thousands of participants. In general, the trip overnights in Jerusalem and in northern Israel.
During your stay in Israel, you will take part in many special events organized specifically for the participants of the March of the Living. Your visit to Poland and Israel will be a study in contrasts. In Poland, you will search for traces of a world that is no more. Like many others, you may leave wondering how it was possible for the destruction of almost an entire generation of Jews to occur—but you will pledge to yourself to keep their memory alive. In Israel, you will encounter a country that is striving valiantly to keep the age-old flame of Jewish nationhood alive. The Holocaust is a stark reminder of the anguish of our past – but Israel represents the hope of our future. This experience will show you how important both aspects are to your identity as a young Jewish person.
The Pledge of the March
- We pledge to keep alive and honour the legacy of the multitudes of our people who perished in the Holocaust.
- We pledge to fight antisemitism, anti-Zionism, Holocaust denial, and all other forms of hatred directed towards the Jewish people and Israel.
- We pledge to fight every form of discrimination manifested against any religion, nationality, or ethnic group.
- We pledge to actively participate in the strengthening of Jewish life in the Diaspora and Israel.
- We pledge to increase our knowledge of our Jewish heritage and to pass on a love of Jewish life and learning to the next generation.
- We pledge to give tzedakah, to assist in helping the needy wherever they may live in the world.
- We pledge to involve ourselves in tikkun olam, to build a better world for all members of the human family. After the Shoah, the promise of 'Never Again' was proclaimed.
- We pledge to create a world where 'Never Again' will become a reality for the Jewish people and, indeed, for all people. This is our solemn pledge to the Jewish people, to those who came before us, to those of our generation, and to those who will follow in future generations.