The United States sent its first official delegation to Auschwitz Thursday to join thousands of Jews from around the world in participating in the 31st annual "March of the Living".
The annual event takes place each year on Yom HaShoah, the day Israel stops to remember the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust.
Dozens of Holocaust survivors, some of whom were once imprisoned in the camp, and thousands of other Jews walk from the Auschwitz concentration camp to the Birkenau extermination camp in honor of those who died there.
It is a profound experience for the participants and the first time the US has ever sent an official delegation.
"This is an incredibly powerful experience for me. It is the first time I have ever been to Auschwitz," US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman told Israeli radio.
At Auschwitz with Edward Mosberg, a 96 year old survivor and inside the crematorium. We will never forgive, we will never forget. pic.twitter.com/0DEEx1X1hZ
— David M. Friedman (@USAmbIsrael) May 2, 2019
The delegation is being led by Friedman, the ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, the ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher; and the special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, Elan Carr.
Six @realDonaldTrump appointed Ambassadors travel to Krakow on the 1st ever official US delegation to the March of the Living. #neveragain #YomHashoa #MOTL2019 @USHeritageComm @USEmbassyBern @CallyGingrich @USAmbIsrael @USAmbPoland @USembassyMadrid pic.twitter.com/YmiqpgpYIC
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) May 1, 2019
The ambassadors will also visit Israel after the march.
So proud of Ambassadors @USAmbPoland, Grenell, @CallyGingrich and McMullen, Special Envoy Carr, @SuzanneSomers, and family and friends who joined our mission to honor and preserve the memory of the #Holocaust. pic.twitter.com/GXL4iThv7a
— David M. Friedman (@USAmbIsrael) May 1, 2019
Friedman said the delegation is a symbol of the United States' dedication to fighting anti-Semitism.
"The U.S. government is always ready to do battle against anti-Semitism and those who peddle this vile hatred, wherever it may exist – whether at book fairs in Europe and the Middle East where you can still find copies of the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' and 'Mein Kampf'; online where hate forums still flourish; or with people such as the shooter in Pittsburgh or most recently, the shooter at a Chabad synagogue in Poway, CA, who still seek to perpetrate violent acts against Jewish people merely because of their faith. We won't stop and we won't rest until we can shine the light in these dark corners and root it out forever," he said in a statement.
Thousands of students from around the world, including almost 6,000 from the U.S. alone, will also attend.