Itongadol.- Seeking atonement for the crimes of their relatives, dozens of Hungarians and Germans walk route taken by thousands of Jews force-marched to Germany, Austria.
Seeking atonement for their relatives, the grandchildren of some of those involved in the Holocaust joined the annual March of Life walk this year as it shifted to Hungary.
Dozens of Hungarians joined about 250 Germans on the trek – a five-day walk along the route taken by tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews who were marched to Germany and Austria as forced laborers at the end of World War II.
Some 550,000 Hungarian Jews died in the Holocaust, including many of the forced laborers. This year\’s participants reversed the route – walking from the Austrian border to Budapest, the Hungarian capital.
Frank Pfeiffer\’s grandfather voluntarily joined the Waffen-SS, the military arm of the Nazi Party, while his wife Barbel\’s grandfather helped build the electrical system at the Auschwitz death camp, including the wiring of its gas chambers.
At Auschwitz, about a third of its victims were Hungarian Jews.
"I have deliberately come on this march to ask for forgiveness from the Jewish people and the survivors," said Pfeiffer, a 44-year-old travel agent. "As the grandchild of a perpetrator, I want to express how deeply sorry I am at what my grandfather did."