Tuvia Book
Author, educator, Tour-Guide, artist

Anne Frank and the March of the Living

This week we commemorate International Holocaust Memorial Day. Yesterday I visited Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam. I’ve been doing a lot of reading recently on the Shoah trying to get a fresh angle to connect with the group I’m guiding this year on the March of the Living (Poland/Israel). The more I read the less I understand. I get angry. I get sad. I get frustrated. I get incredulous. It’s an emotional roller coaster.

Statue of Anne Frank in Amsterdam. Photo (c) T. Book, 2020

I remember the last time I led a group on the March. We assembled in front of the blown-up gas chambers at Birkenau after having marched in silence from Auschwitz I to Auschwitz II along the rail line and through the gates. At the ceremony, standing next to the IDF guard of honour was the former Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Lau, himself a survivor, having being rescued by the American troops as a little boy. He started his address with the following statement:

Look around, there are 8000 youth from all over the world. That is half the amount of people who were murdered daily in Auschwitz at its peak killing capacity between June and November of 1944 when Hungary’s Jews (including my grandmother’s entire family) were being murdered.

I don’t really recall much of the rest of his speech, as the opening stunned us. The scale of the site and the scale of the murder and the scale of the evil just overwhelmed me. Seventy-five years later the soil is still grey with the ashes of the one million Jews who were murdered there. It’s so important to go at least once to Poland to learn about the rich Jewish life before the Shoah. To understand what we lost and to see the evidence of the mass-murder first hand, especially whilst we can still hear it in first person from the last generation of witnesses.

Most importantly, after visiting Poland, and other sites in formerly Nazi-occupied Europe, like Anne Frank’s house, we realise just how important it is to be in charge of our own Jewish destiny and not rely on the pity of our host-nations. How important it is to have our own Jewish state and a strong IDF. I get very emotional every time I return from Poland home to Israel. I’ve seen people weep with gratitude, myself included.

About the Author
Dr. Tuvia Book was born in London and raised in both the UK and South Africa. After making Aliya at the age of 17 and studying in Yeshiva he volunteered for the IDF, where he served in an elite combat unit. Upon his discharge he completed his BA at Bar-Ilan University, as well as certification in graphic design. He then served as the Information Officer at the Israeli Consulate of Philadelphia, while earning a graduate degree in Jewish Studies. Upon his return to Israel, Dr. Book graduated from a course of study with the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, and is a licensed tour guide. Tuvia has been working in the field of Jewish Education, both formal and informal, for many years. He has guided and taught Jewish students and educators from around the English-speaking world for some of Israel’s premier educational institutions and programs. Tuvia has been guiding groups for Birthright Israel since its inception and, in addition, has lectured throughout North America, Australia, Europe and South Africa. Tuvia served as a Shaliach (emissary) for the Jewish Agency for Israel as the Director of Israel and Zionist Education at the Board of Jewish Education of Greater New York (Jewish Education Project). He was a lecturer/educational guide at the Alexander Muss Institute for Israel Education (AMIIE) in Israel for a decade. Tuvia has lectured at both Bar Ilan University and Hebrew University. He is the author (and illustrator) of the internationally acclaimed Zionism curriculum; “For the Sake of Zion; A Curriculum of Israel Education” (fifth edition, 2017, Koren) and is at present working on his next book, a history of the Jewish people. Tuvia has a doctorate in Israel education. His dissertation title is: “Through the Soldiers’ Eyes: Exploring the Influence of a Birthright Mifgash on the Israeli Soldier Participants.”
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