Ahead of Yom HaShoah, the March of Life commemorating the victims of the Holocaust was held in the Colombian capital of Bogotá on Sunday.
This cross-communal display of solidarity against antisemitism and all forms of hatred and discrimination was led by Kehilat Yovel and Pastors Raul Rubio and Viviana Valbuena, and it was co-sponsored by the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), Roka Ministry, and Keren Kayemet Colombia.
The event took place in Bogotá’s central Plaza de Bolívar, with a crowd of nearly 4,000 people — including Holocaust survivors and their descendants — braving the rainy weather to attend.
Notable participants included Israeli Ambassador to Colombia Gali Dagan, Polish Ambassador to Colombia Paweł Woźny, and Chief Rabbi Bogotá Alfredo Goldschmidt, as well as representatives of the Confederation of Jewish Communities of Colombia.
“Today we remember six million men and women, elderly and children who, just for being Jewish, were persecuted, tortured, and eventually killed,” Ambassador Dagan said. “One third of our Jewish community at that time was destroyed. The Shoah, the Holocaust, marked a milestone in the history of mankind as it revealed the potential of man’s evil and the capacity of human beings to commit large-scale murder in the name of an ideology. Our duty is not to minimize its impact and much less to deny it or compare it with other terrible crimes in history.”
Ambassador Woźny stated, “I am honored to participate in this very important act of commemorating the victims of the most serious holocaust in the history of mankind. But this is also an act of hope in which we profess that we do not want to repeat those atrocious events, that we are willing to reconcile, but not to forget.”
CAM Director of Hispanic Outreach Shay Salamon also addressed the gathering, declaring, “We all have the responsibility and obligation to fight against any act of hatred because what begins with the Jew does not end with the Jew. We must show the younger generations our commitment through education and legislation, going down the right path, the path to light and peace.”
The event closed with a presentation of trees to the families of the local Jewish community. “We want to give a gift that means life and hope,” said Pastor William Arana of the Roka Ministry.
¡En la Marcha de la Vida! Estamos en #Bogotá conmemorando la Shoá y haciendo una declaración visible en contra de toda forma de antisemitismo y discriminación. Todos juntos para decir ¡Nunca Más!@CombatASemitism @yovelenlaweb #Colombia #Holocausto #NuncaMás pic.twitter.com/pcGwCSK4pz
— CAM en Español (@CAMenEspanol) April 16, 2023
This marked the fourth-ever March of Life in Colombia, with the first taking place in 2017.
Since its establishment in 2007, the March of Life has organized thousands of memorial and reconciliation marches across the globe. This year, events were held simultaneously in 114 cities worldwide.
The March of Life stands for:
Remembering — Working through the past, giving survivors of the Holocaust a voice.
Reconciliation — Healing and restoration between descendants of the victims and perpetrators.
Taking a Stand — For Israel and against modern antisemitism.
Learn more about the March of Life here.