Witness: Passing the Torch of Holocaust Memory to New Generations

Witness: Passing the Torch of Holocaust Memory to New Generations


Compiled by Eli Rubenstein with March of the Living


Holocaust Survivors are aging. Once they are no longer able to, who will tell their stories?

For more than 25 years the March of the Living has brought together survivors and students from all over the world to ensure that first-hand accounts of the Holocaust are not lost. During their visits to Poland, where millions of innocent people were enslaved and murdered by Nazi Germany during WWII, survivors, those who helped them, and liberators all share their memories with young people. 

As they walk through concentration camps, ghettos, and towns depleted of Jewish communities, a special bond forms as the original witnesses to the Holocaust pass their mantle to a new generation whose task it is to remember what they hear and see. Moving photographs and firsthand accounts show us the remarkable passing of the torch to the young of many faiths and cultures who become the new witnesses, carrying the torch toward a future of peace. 

"I ask you to convey to the organizers of the March of Living my closeness to them and their mission. All the efforts for fighting in favor of life are praiseworthy and have to be supported without any kind of discrimination. For this reason I am very close to these initiatives, that are not only against death but also against the thousands of discriminatory phobias that enslave and kill." — His Holiness, Pope Francis
“I think of Pinchas Gutter, a man who lived through the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and survived the Majdanek death camp... ‘I tell my story,’ he says, ‘for the purpose of improving humanity, drop by drop by drop. Like a drop of water falls on a stone and erodes it, so, hopefully, by telling my story over and over again I will achieve the purpose of making the world a better place to live in.’ Those are the words of one survivor – performing that sacred duty of memory – that will echo throughout eternity. And those are good words for all of us to live by.” — U.S. President Barack Obama
"I tell my story for the purpose of improving humanity, drop by drop by drop." — Pinchas Gutter, Holocaust survivor and March of the Living participant
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About the Author

Eli Rubenstein is the National Director of The March of the Living Canada. He is a religious leader at a Toronto synagogue founded by Holocaust survivors which sponsors Passover seders for the homeless, Holocaust education programs, and award-winning documentaries. 

About the Organization

The March of the Living is an annual educational program that takes students from all over the world to Poland, in order to study the Holocaust.

Product Information

  • Release: September 8, 2015

  • $32.95 Hardcover with Jacket

  • 136 Pages

  • Adult Nonfiction

  • 8.5 x 11

  • Lexile: 1220L Guided Reading: Z+

  • ISBN: 9781927583661

Praise for Witness

"With many extant works on the Holocaust, this book stands out for its firsthand accounts from survivors... The many photographs (both archival and contemporary) are compelling: individual faces help make the ungraspable numbers personal... Recommended for most libraries." - School Library Journal

"Witness is a moving project, serving as both a memorial to those lost and a charge to not let such events repeat themselves." - Foreword Reviews

"Witness is respectful of those who perished, those who survived and the young people who now bear witness to the memory of the Holocaust. It is sad in content, appropriately so, but ever so hopeful about our ability to be good and bring peace to our world." - The Huffington Post Canada

"This book, based on a photo exhibit launched at the United Nations, movingly records memories and reflections from Holocaust survivors as they revisited Nazi concentration and death camps, as well as the thoughts and feelings of teenage visitors to those sites as they came to grips with the horrors that the Nazis inflicted on Jews, Roma, gay and disabled people, and others.... highly recommended as an educational resource and inspiration for any reader." - Publishers Weekly

"... a remarkable volume that testifies to the power of remembrance, commemoration, and education." - Cosmopolitan Review

"With its many primary source artifacts, Witness is a great starting point for intermediate- level inquiry-based learning and a superb addition to school libraries... One might expect, given the unfathomable depravity of the Holocaust, an undertone of bitterness or even hatred in this text. Yet it is the absence of these sentiments that renders the book so powerful. The contemporary and archival photographs, poems and personal statements all underscore a central point: the power of mankind to respond, resist and reunite as one." - EFTO Voice (Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario)

"Witness is a courageous, eloquent and hopeful book. As the survivors near the horizon of their lives, they can rest assured that the torch of Holocaust memory has been successfully passed to a new generation, whose sincerity, idealism and commitment fill the pages of this uplifting and inspirational work." - The National Post

"    ... well-written and emotionally provocative. [Witness] delivers on its promise and catalyzes thinking around one particular sentence from a 20-year-old’s poem: 'No one survived the Holocaust.'" - AJL Reviews - Association of Jewish Libraries