The idea to commemorate the heroic act of Vrba and Wetzler by undertaking a march from Auschwitz to Zilina in their footsteps was born in the mind of Zuzana, the late daughter of Rudolf Vrba. When her mother, Gerta, discussed the idea with Fedor Gal in Prague, it became immediately clear that such an event could play an important role in emphasizing the importance of resistance and defiance in the history of the Holocaust and would provide an important educational value for understanding and commemorating some lesser known events of the Shoah.
As the project further developed, and in particular after the trial march of August 2014, the organizers saw the need to devise a special format of the march to enable the participation of interested schools. Not everyone is ready to take a week off and march 140 kilometers in difficult terrain. Furthermore, accommodation capacities en route are quite limited.
Thus, a three-day educational march for students is considered, which would take the participants through the most important sections of the route, expose them to the walking experience and keep the project feasible. Accommodation will be provided in hotels in nearby cities and a closing cultural and educational event will be organized at the destination, Zilina.
The educational value of the project lies in the combination of the actual experience in the field with prior knowledge of the Holocaust and the moral dilemmas associated with it. Therefore, trained educators will cooperate with teachers and offer educational programs in schools in advance to prepare the participants.
The process will be piloted in the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 2016. International educational activities will follow later, subject to sufficient funding. Educational institutions interested to participate in the educational march from Auschwitz to Zilina in the future are invited to register at firstname.lastname@example.org.