History & Background
The March of Remembrance and Hope (MRH) is a program designed for university and college students of all religions and backgrounds. The program takes place in mid-May, and includes a two-day trip to Germany, followed by a five day visit to Poland. The international MRH program was founded in 2001 by Dr. David Machlis of the United States and Eli Rubenstein of Canada, both of whom were involved in the March of the Living program.
During the trip students visit locations in Germany and Poland related to the Holocaust and other World War II genocides, including the site of the Wannsee Conference, and the former concentration/death camps of Auschwitz, Treblinka and Majdanek.
The purpose of the March of Remembrance and Hope is to teach students of various religious and ethnic backgrounds about the dangers of intolerance through the study of the Holocaust and other World War II genocides, and to promote better relations among people of diverse cultures.
Holocaust survivors also participate in the March of Remembrance and Hope program, sharing their painful memories in the very places in which their stories transpired. During the trip, the students also meet one of the Righteous Among the Nations, and learn of the heroic actions a minority of Europe's population took to resist Nazi tyranny.
Since its inception, students of many diverse religions, backgrounds and ethnicities have taken part in the March of Remembrance and Hope program, including: Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Seventh Day Adventist, and many others. In addition, students who come from their own history of persecution (such as survivors of the Rwandan Genocide, First Nation students, African Americans, etc.) have also participated in the March of Remembrance and Hope.
Presently, the program is run annually in Canada by Jewish Federations of Canada - UIA after being run for several years by the Canadian Centre for Diversity
The international MRH program is currently on hold, but there are American groups who have traveled with the Canadian MRH delegation, namely Nazareth College and Hobart and William Smith Colleges who have since launched their own program called The March: Bearing Witness to Hope - http://morah.naz.edu.
Two student organizations in Canada dedicated to teaching tolerance and combating genocide, Shout Canada and Stand Canada, were founded by students who participated in Marches to Poland. Many of the student leaders and active members of these two organizations are alumni of the March of Remembrance and Hope program.
On January 27, 2007, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Ms. Marie Mirlande Noel, an African American student at the College of St. Elizabeth, and a graduate of the MRH program, addressed the United Nations about her experience on the March of Remembrance and Hope program.