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September 12 2008

A world without violence: against racism and anti-Semitism: Young Europeans from the Communities of Sant'Egidio on a pilgrimage to Auschwitz

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From 11th to 13th September, a pilgrimage has taken place with the theme “For a Wold without Violence: Young People at Auschwitz against Racism and Anti-Semitism “. Participants comprised over 500 university-student members of the Communities of Sant’Egidio of Eastern Europe, from Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Poland, Russia, Germany and Italy, as well as representatives from Georgia.

The event began in Krakow on Thursday, September 11, with a gathering and the testimony of David Brodmann, the Chief Rabbi of Savyon (Israel), a survivor of the Concentration Camp at Theresienstadt. “It is always painful to recall those events” Rabbi Brodman said afterwards, “but my friendship with the Community of Sant’Egidio persuaded me to take this step”. He spent a long time speaking to the young people, greeting them personally and speaking of his experiences as a child in concentration camps, first in Holland and then in Theresienstadt. On the following day, he accompanied the group to Auschwitz: “It is my first visit there, but entering that place accompanied by young people will give me hope” he stated. The encounter was a very moving one and the young audience was struck by the horror of those years as seen through the eyes of a child.

On Friday, September 12th, participants are scheduled to visit Auschwitz, with a late-afternoon walk of remembrance along the railway line leading from Birkenau. Finally, floral wreaths in memory of Jewish and Gypsy victims will be laid at the Monument for the Victims of National Socialism, and an Appeal against Racism and Anti-Semitism will be read out loud in several languages. 


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