Cyclists will make the nearly 50-mile trek from Auschwitz to Krakow to symbolize the rebirth of Jewish life in Poland.
The inaugural Ride for the Living, organized by the Krakow Jewish Community Center, is set for June 6. The event takes its name from the March of the Living, which each year brings thousands of young Jews to Auschwitz to commemorate the Holocaust. The ride is expected to become an annual event under the patronage of Poland’s chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich.
Riders will include JCC staff, members and friends. One participant will be Robert Desmond, who recently completed a 1,350-mile bicycle trip from London to Auschwitz tracing the route that Allied soldiers took to liberate Nazi-occupied lands in World War II.
“We conceived this idea in order to reflect the miracle of the re-emerging Jewish community of Krakow just down the road from Auschwitz,” Rabbi Avi Baumol, who serves in Krakow, said in a Facebook post.
The next night, June 7, riders will take part in the annual 7@Nite Festival in Krakow sponsored by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, when all seven synagogues in the city’s former Jewish quarter, Kazimierz, are open to the public after Havdalah until the wee hours. The synagogues will be hosting concerts, exhibits, performances and other events.