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Witness: Passing the Torch of Holocaust Memory to New Generations

Witness: Passing the Torch of Holocaust Memory to New Generations
AuthorEli Rubenstein
PublisherSecond Story Press
Publication date
Publication placeCanada
Media typeBook (Hardback)

Witness: Passing the Torch of Holocaust Memory to New Generations is a large format volume, published by Canadian Second Story Press, inspired by a 2014 United Nations exhibit of reflections and images of Holocaust survivors and students who have traveled on the March of the Living since 1988. The exhibit and the book are intended to educate a new generation of students about the atrocities of the Second World War. In collaboration with March of the Living, an organization that spearheads visits to the Polish grounds where Nazi atrocities occurred, Toronto religious leader and Holocaust educator Eli Rubenstein compiled this book which includes an introduction from Pope Francis.

Witness - Passing the Torch of Holocaust Memory, Polish Edition
Cover of Polish language edition of Witness, with Survivor Edward Mosberg and granddaughter lighting a memorial torch on the  March of the Living in Auschwitz-Birkenau

Witness features a unique interactive feature where the survivors, World War II liberators, and Righteous Among the Nations included in the book, have an invisible link embedded in their image. When their image is accessed with a smart phone or other device, the reader is taken to an excerpt of their video testimony on USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education (created by Steven Spielberg) or March of the Living Digital Archive Project websites.[1]

Witness: Spanish Edition

Translations in several other languages have been completed and/or published with the launch of the Polish language edition taking place in November 2018 at the Polin Museum, the Spanish edition (Testimonios; traspasar la antorcha de la memoria del holocausto a las nuevas generaciones) launched in January 2019, and the Hebrew edition was scheduled for release in early to mid 2019.[2] The exhibit was on display at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum until July 2016.[3][4]

Witness: Hebrew Edition

In 2020, a special edition of the book was published in conjunction with “Liberation 75” an international Holocaust education initiative commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the end of WWII and the liberation of Europe from Nazi tyranny. The book included a section of liberation stories dealing with the accounts of mainly Canadian Holocaust survivors from this pivotal period.  The new edition also included an afterword by Steven Spielberg, founder of the USC Shoah Foundation. Other new material, included content from Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis related to the March of the Living and additional stories concerning the actions of the Righteous Among the Nations.

President Andrzej Duda, President of Poland & Aharon Tamir, Deputy Chairman, March of the Living
President of Poland Andrzej Duda (centre) and Aharon Tamir-March of the Living Deputy Chairman (left) with copy of Witness

Survivor quotes

Holocaust Survivor Nate Liepciger speaking to students in Auschwitz-Birkenau
Holocaust Survivor Pinchas Gutter in Tykochen Synagogue

"When you have hatred in your heart, there is no room for love." Faigie Libman

"Hate will destroy the person doing the hating." Nate Leipciger

"I am a strong believer that we must tell the stories to the youngsters – they are going to be our witnesses. But please present them in a way, with the kind of emotions, that will not create the same hatred that was done to us." Max Glauben

"I tell my story 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." Pinchas Gutter (quoted by US President, Barack Obama)

After learning there were people today denying the Holocaust …. "I said there and then, I would crawl on my hands and knees all the way to Auschwitz-Birkenau, or anywhere else, to tell my story to anyone who was willing to listen. This is why I march and why I still speak." David Shentow

"To be a survivor after the Holocaust, is to have all the reason in the world to destroy and not to destroy. To have all the reasons in the world to hate and not to hate… to have all the reasons in the world to mistrust and not to mistrust..." Elie Wiesel

"I never had a chance to say good-bye to my mother. We didn't know we had to say good-bye. …And I am an old woman today and I never made peace with the fact that I never had that last hug and kiss…. They say, 'When you listen to a witness, you become a witness.' I am only asking you to work for a world where nobody will have to live with memories like mine ever again. Please heal the world........" Judy Weissenberg Cohen


The March of the Living Digital Archive, which hosts many of the videos linked in the book was made possible in part, through grants from the Citizenship & Immigration Canada - Multiculturalism Section, and the Claims Conference. The Digital Archives Project aims to gather Holocaust testimony from Canadian survivors who, since 1988, have traveled to Poland on the March of the Living to share their Holocaust stories with their young students in the locations they transpired.[5]


  1. ^ "Watch Testimony Clips in New Book from the March of the Living". USC Shoah Foundation News. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  2. ^ Lungen, Paul (13 November 2015). "Book Passes the Torch of Holocaust Memory". The Canadian Jewish News. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  3. ^ "March of The Living Exhibit is open to the visitors of Auschwitz Museum". March of the Living International. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  4. ^ 7 במאי 2019, retrieved 2024-02-14
  5. ^ Lungen, Paul (6 December 2013). "March of the Living to Create Digital Archive". The Canadian Jewish News. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
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Witness: Passing the Torch of Holocaust Memory to New Generations
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