208. Scott Saunders
A volunteer from Barnet who runs the ‘March of the Living UK’ educational programme enabling over 750 young people from the UK to join thousands from across the world to march from Auschwitz to Birkenau on Holocaust Memorial day.
Scott Saunders, 52, gave up his career in Investment Banking in 2010 to set up March of the Living UK. The charity provides the opportunity for young British Jews to travel to Poland over six days and learn about the Holocaust and Jewish life in Europe before and during the Second World War. Each year Scott organises and fundraises the trip for over 200 young people, providing much of the funding himself. He also tours university campuses up and down the country throughout term time to raise awareness of the tours and generate interest among young Jewish students.
The first international March of the Living took place in 1988 as a way of reaffirming Jewish faith and community and remembering the millions who perished during the Second World War. Since then over 200,000 people have taken part in the March of the Living from 35 countries. However up until 2010 the UK has been notable by its absence, having not sent any significant participants in the educational programme. To help combat this, Scott formed March of the Living UK to encourage the same levels of participation and education as enjoyed by other Jewish communities throughout the world.
Since 2010, over 750 people from the UK have participated in March of the Living, which culminates on Yom Hashoah, the Jewish day of Holocaust remembrance, on April 15th – 16th. The group joins thousands of young Jews from across the world to march from Auschwitz to Birkenau, the largest concentration camp built during the Second World War, alongside holocaust survivors and world-leading academics on the subject. Participation in the march also involves attending an education programme that consists of a pre-trip seminar, the trip to Poland and a closing seminar after participants have returned. The experience enables participants to understand the world, and the lives, that were destroyed during this brutal period of history and connect and share their Jewish heritage with others.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“As we mark Holocaust Memorial Day, I am delighted to honour Scott with a Point of Light award. Scott is an inspiration to hundreds of young Jewish people in this country whose lives have been changed by attending these extraordinary marches through Poland. By connecting with the past, young participants have learnt about their own heritage and strengthened their own participation in the Jewish community.”
“I am absolutely flabberghasted and truly honoured to receive the Prime Minister’s Points of Light award. I do this because I feel it’s essential that future generations not only understand their history, but also see it as a learning point for the future. If more people understand the past, we can prevent events like the holocaust ever happening again in the future.”
Local MP, Mike Freer, said:
“Scott is an inspiration and this is just one of many community projects he undertakes. I am fortunate to have so many constituents dedicated to good causes and few are better than educating people around the Holocaust.”