The March of the Living will be held on Sunday, Hungarian Holocaust Remembrance Day, with the walk starting out from Koltói Anna Square in the 8th District of Budapest at 5pm and arriving in Bethlen Gábor Square in the 7th District.
This year’s walk along the 1.5km route commemorates the people forced into labour between two memorials dedicated to them. Guest of honor is Katharina von Schnurbein, the European Commission Coordinator on combatting anti-Semitism. Israel’s ambassador to Hungary Yacov Hadas-Handelsman and US ambassador David Pressman will give speeches. Peter Joel Totha, chief rabbi of the Hungarian Armed Forces, will see to rabbinical duties at the event, and Chief Rabbi Tamas Vero and the European director of the March of the Living, Michel Gourary, will start the walk off.
Budapest commemorates the holocaust
Parliament declared April 16 the memorial day of the Hungarian victims of the Holocaust in 2001, marking the anniversary when Budapest Jews were first forced into ghettos in 1944. The mass deportation of Jews in Hungary started on May 15, 1944, with a German staff run by Adolf Eichman and assisted by Hungarian public administration officials and gendarmarie. Within a few months, some 437,000 Jews were deported from rural Hungary, on four daily trains to Auschwitz. The deportation of Jews from Budapest was stopped by Regent of Hungary Miklós Horthy on July 6, following international protests.
A 1941 census showed that 725,000 Jews lived in the territory of Hungary which at the time included reannexed areas. Two-thirds died as a result of forced labour, deportations and genocide. Hungary’s rural Jewish population practically perished as a result of the deportations but in Budapest around 100,000 Jews survived. Historians estimate that the number of Roma who died in concentration camps as a result of the Holocaust in Hungary was between 5,000 and 70,000. A Holocaust Memorial Centre opened in Budapest on April 15, 2004.