Links in the Chain

Final Steps, Last Hopes: Untold Stories of the Nazi Death Marches

Tags: Holocaust, Memory, History, Inspiration and Hope, Jewish Identity, Resources

By Dr. Elana Yael Heideman

Every year, communities gather to recount the experiences of suffering, the moments of hope, and the memories of victims and survivors of the Nazi Holocaust. Every year, we face new challenges, we uncover more stories, we learn new facts that shed light on this dark chapter of human history that we, the heirs of memory, must pass on.

From the Nuremburg Laws to the ghettos, from the cattle cars to the gas chambers, there is no end to the horrors of the Holocaust. The Death Marches are one facet whose reality is too often left untold.

This reflection program explores the treacherous experiences of the winter marches from the Nazi camps in Poland to those in Germany in an effort to eliminate the last witnesses to the reign of terror that aimed to exterminate Europe’s Jews. Written and compiled by Holocaust scholar Dr. Elana Heideman, student and protege of Professor Elie Wiesel, the content is laid out as a ceremony, for those interested in running it with their school or community. It is also a wonderful resource for reading privately or with a small group.


  • Narrow down selections based on your desired program length
  • Assign readings. During the ceremony, the MC should call up each reader by name. 
  • Prepare table and candles 
  • Ensure set up of audio/visual logistics for sharing of the accompanying presentation that runs simultaneous as a background to the ceremony


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About the Author

Dr.  Elana Yael Heideman
Dr. Elana Yael Heideman, Executive Director of The Israel Forever Foundation, is a dynamic and passionate educator who works creatively and collaboratively in developing content and programming to deepen and activate the personal connection to Israel for Diaspora Jews. Elana’s extensive experience in public speaking, educational consulting and analytic research and writing has served to advance her vision of Israel-inspired Jewish identity that incorporates the relevance of the Holocaust, Antisemitism and Zionism to contemporary issues faced throughout the Jewish world in a continuous effort to facilitate dialogue and build bridges between the past, present and future.

Tags: Holocaust, Memory, History, Inspiration and Hope, Jewish Identity, Resources