Part of the March of the Living International Network and as official representative in Romania, the Magna cum Laude-Reut Foundation – the Laude-Reut Educational Complex was invited to the Emerging European Leaders Seminar in Vilnius, September 2019, on the occasion of the National Memorial Day for the Genocide of the Lithuanian Jews, organized in partnership with the International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania.
Alongside with Mr. Victor Micula, State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Irina Sanda Marin Cajal, Under-State Secretary in the Romanian Ministry of Culture, the Laude-Reut Educational Complex was represented by Diana Gherasimiuc, History teacher, and Daria Goldenberg and Lara Tifui, students who underwent the March of the Living experience.
Besides the debates, discussions and meetings with leading historians, academics and educators from the International Commission Nazi Sub-Commission and the International March of the Living, the participants walked the memory road to the Ponary Memorial, as a silent tribute to the victims of the Holocaust.
Talk the talk and walk the walk is one of my most favorite English expressions and it has become a life motto. I think it encompasses everything I believe in. As a teacher, I do a lot of talking and that means talking about past events, about heroes and life changing ideas in history, about micro events, major fallouts and so many other things. To what purpose you might ask? I count it as one of my life’s blessings to be able to form young minds into responsible adults, active in society and eager to help the community.
Teaching the Holocaust is difficult. It touches sensitive cords and it places me in a position I hate when I have to answer a question and I don’t know how to do it. When kids ask how was it possible for so many people to be killed so brutally I have no answer. If I did I would be arrogant but I confess that I do my best to try and explain because, at the end of each class, after we have done the talk we must do the walk and never allow such atrocities to happen again.
As March of the Living participants we did another walk, as well. The walk that brought shivers down my spine. And this fall, in Vilnius, I did yet another walk. I walked the distance from life to death as it was perceived by the Lithuanian Jews in Vilna. I did that along with hundreds of other people, young and old, and once again I vowed that I would keep on doing the talk that will never allow such a walk ever again.
Diana Gherasimiuc, History teacher
From the 21st to the 24th of September I had the honor to participate at a seminar in Vilnius, Lithuania. The subject of this seminar was Emerging European Leaders and I had the chance to hear the thoughts of other fellow teenagers from all throughout Europe on racism, xenophobia and mainly the rising rates of antisemitism. As I mentioned above, in the first days of the seminar, I got to share my experience and opinion on the afore mentioned subjects with teenagers but also with decision makers from Lithuania and the European March of the Living Network, the organizers of this event. In the last day, we commemorated the victims of the Holocaust and we had the chance to hear survivors from the ghetto of Vilnius in the former ghetto territory but also at the Ponary memorial.
This seminar was a great opportunity for me seeing as I had the chance to discover even more about the history of the Holocaust and I also talked with fellow young leaders. Throughout this event I understood more about the importance of a strong working network and a young generation that truly understands the meaning of the words “Never Again”.
Daria Goldenberg, 11U
Our visit to Vilnius, Lithuania was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. I got to experience a lot in just barely 3 days. First of all, Vilnius was an unexpectedly charming city, with warm people and streets even though the weather was so cold. Second of all, I was impressed by the effort of the people who organised the small march which was similar to the March of the Living in Poland. Even though Lithuania is a small country, the will of the people who want to remember the events of the past and to mourn the victims of the Holocaust was beyond any borders. Lastly, I appreciated the fact that the organisers had invited young people from different countries to attend the ceremonies, and o was honoured to be a part of this event.
Lara Țifui, 10