You’ll go to Poland on Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) and march from Auschwitz to Birkenau, the largest concentration camp complex built during World War II. Then travel to Israel to observe Yom HaZikaron (Israel Memorial Day) and Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Israel Independence Day).
From Poland to Israel, from darkness to light, we are still here.
For information about March of the Living, contact: MOTL@mayersonjcc.org.
We are waiting to hear from March of the Living International about the status of the 2024 trip, given the current situation in Israel. We will post an update when we have more information.
March of the Living Information
For high school seniors with at least one Jewish parent.
Come learn about March of the Living, an opportunity to join Jewish teens from all over the world for a profoundly moving experience. Observe Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) in Poland, where you will march from Auschwitz to Birkenau, the largest concentration camp complex built during World War II. Afterwards, you will travel to Israel to observe Yom HaZikaron (Israel Memorial Day) and celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut (Israel Independence Day) to cap off the trip of a lifetime.
Eligibility & Preparation
Students who will be in the 12th grade during the 2023-2024 school year are eligible to participate. Applicants must complete an application and medical form. If you are chosen, you will attend 6 pre-trip sessions to review Holocaust history, Israeli culture, and facilitate group bonding. These sessions are offered by the Center for Holocaust & Humanity Education in partnership with The Nancy and David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center.
Costs & Flights
This trip is organized by the Mayerson JCC, in partnership with the The Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center. Travel grants are generously funded by The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati and administered by the Jewish Federation. Cincy Journeys travel grants are not need based and are offered to Cincinnati Jewish high school seniors who have not already used their high school Israel travel grant. Those who have already used their travel grant and would like to attend may do so for an all-inclusive price. Price is inclusive of domestic and international airfare, lodging, meals and program fees. In addition, teens may be able to redeem their B’nai Mitzvah travel grant toward this trip. Visit JewishCininnati.org to apply for a grant.
Meet the Team
It is not possible to begin to grasp the atrocities of the Holocaust until you breathe the same air that our murdered ancestors did, walk the same steps, sit in the same barracks — all sites that are now grown over. Truly, that air, those steps, and those barracks are not just theirs, they are ours. March of the Living taught me that it is our collective obligation to respect the millions of lives lost by telling their stories, one at a time. Peppi — our incredible guide in Poland, who truly lives up to her name — taught me that too. I made new, lifelong friendships on our journey; both the destruction and the beauty that we saw on the trip had a special way of bringing our entire delegation together. One of the memories that will remain with me most is from our last day in Poland, at Auschwitz. Anyone who was visibly emotional (which was a lot of us at that point) was hugged without hesitation, by friends and acquaintances alike. It was truly beautiful. Such beautiful humanity expressed in a place deprived of it for so long was powerful to experience. Coming back from March of the Living, I shoulder an immense responsibility to carry on the legacy of the Shoah, to show that we are still here and we are still thriving. It’s the most powerful way of proclaiming ‘never again.
The March of the Living is an experience that is very hard to put into words. Seeing the atrocities in Poland then heading to the Jewish homeland made our whole group understand the importance of having a Jewish state. Walking through the concentration camps as a group strengthened our bonds and created new ones. We all realized that it is so important to keep the memory of the Holocaust and the Jewish people alive. The horrors we saw in Poland made Israel seem like a miracle and a place where Jewish people are accepted with open arms. The impact of this trip goes way beyond missing two weeks of school. The bonds that you will make will last a lifetime.
In the first week, we stepped on the ground where thousands of thriving Jews lived, learning individual stories. We then ventured to forests, ghettos, and concentration camps where thousands of people were murdered on the spot, putting us in states of utter shock. All my life, I have learned about the statistics, constantly having these numbers thrown into my brain: six million Jews. Standing on the actual concentration camp grounds, though, made those numbers feel unimportant. I heard the stories of teenage girls, like me, who were talking to boys, having passions, and just trying to live their lives, but their livelihoods were taken away from them. No longer was I seeing the numbers when we walked past 40,000 pairs of shoes, hundreds of thousands of suitcases, and eerie barracks; I was seeing individual lives that could have been me, my friends, or my family. I am so thankful that I took this opportunity right before college, because it made me think about who I am, who I want to be, and who I want to surround myself with. Before this trip, I thought I had a pretty solid grasp on my Judaism, but March of the Living turned all of that upside down. For some reason, I had never thought about the individual lives, but now that I understood them, I appreciated my Judaism even more. No matter what level of Judaism you relate to, when standing in these places, you can’t help but feel proud of the Jewish people for persevering and staying strong today amidst the attempts to annihilate us all. It made me realize the importance of keeping Judaism and the Jewish community in my life, helped me put minor problems into perspective, and opened my eyes that there is so much more outside my Cincinnati bubble.
You cannot truly appreciate something until you’ve either lost it or gotten a glimpse of what life would be like without it. When I first began my journey on March of The Living, I was looking forward to getting out of school for two weeks and becoming closer with the other delegates. After returning from the trip, my thoughts changed. Looking at the camps, the barracks, the railroad tracks, the belongings, and realizing that everything is there except the people that used them was one of the most eye-opening feelings I have ever experienced in my life. Six million people perished in the blink of an eye. Six million different people, living different lives, in different parts of the world. Not only is it our job to remember the six million and remind people of the horrors of the Holocaust, it is our job as Jews to live our lives to the best of our ability, loud and proud. Six million Jews were murdered by the end of 1945 simply because they were Jewish. I wear a chai around my neck for them, for myself, and for all Jews around the world because we’re still here.
2024 Itinerary will be released at a later date