March 2016 saw a new volunteer program open at ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran in conjunction with the March of Life organization.
A groundbreaking organization, March of Life includes among its ranks volunteers descended from Nazi party members, motivated by feelings of guilt over the annihilation of six million Jews and seeking to “correct” Nazi injustice. The organization aims to educate new generations towards understanding and love of all people.
Katinka, a member of March of Life from the town of Leipzig, Germany, began a four-month volunteering stint at ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran in February of this year. As part of the process to join the March of Life, Katinka and her family researched the history of their family during the Holocaust. Until that time, many families in Germany knew about the Holocaust, but denied that their families had anything to do with murdering the Jews. The conspiracy of silence surrounding the issue was extensive.
After in-depth research, Katinka’s parents discovered that their fathers had been German soldiers during World War II, taking part in the Final Solution and the murder of Jews. Katinka learned that her grandfather served in Thessaloniki during the period in which almost all of the Jewish community was murdered. The very thought that her grandparents took part in the murder of European Jewry gave her no rest. Katinka felt that she needed to be part of the change spearheaded by the organization, and she came to Israel to volunteer at ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran.
“During the Holocaust the Nazis murdered society’s weak and ‘inferior’ “Katinka Jauch
In Katinka’s words, “During the Holocaust the Nazis murdered society’s weak and ‘inferior’. The first to be murdered were people with disabilities. The Nazis had no place for the weak and the different, emphasizing race superiority. My volunteerism at ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran, the place where the most vulnerable members of society can be found, is a kind of compensation for me. ”
“My connection with the residents is born of great love. I came to volunteer because I want to change years’ worth of thinking patterns and to show that we have to think differently about the weak. I love the residents, and the strong connection developed between us is due to the love and regard I have for them.”