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LeMond, Holocaust survivors ride to celebrate Jewish life

UPDATED: Fri., June 29, 2018

Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond, right, Marcel Zielinski, a Holocaust survivor, center, and Jonathan Ornstein, the director of the Jewish Community Center of Krakow, pose for the media in Oswiecim, Poland, on Friday June 29, 2018. LeMond, two Holocaust survivors and dozens of others took part in a symbolic ride from Auschwitz-Birkenau to a Jewish cultural center in Poland to support the renewal of Jewish life. The ride Friday began at the gates of the former Nazi German death camp and ended at the Jewish Community Center of Krakow 55 miles  away - a place where the Jewish community is growing. (Katarzyna Bednarczyk / Associated Press)
Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond, right, Marcel Zielinski, a Holocaust survivor, center, and Jonathan Ornstein, the director of the Jewish Community Center of Krakow, pose for the media in Oswiecim, Poland, on Friday June 29, 2018. LeMond, two Holocaust survivors and dozens of others took part in a symbolic ride from Auschwitz-Birkenau to a Jewish cultural center in Poland to support the renewal of Jewish life. The ride Friday began at the gates of the former Nazi German death camp and ended at the Jewish Community Center of Krakow 55 miles away - a place where the Jewish community is growing. (Katarzyna Bednarczyk / Associated Press)
Associated Press

WARSAW, Poland – Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond, two Holocaust survivors and some 200 others took part in a symbolic ride from Auschwitz-Birkenau to a Jewish cultural center in Poland to support the renewal of Jewish life.

The ride Friday began at the site of the former Nazi German death camp and ended at the Jewish Community Center of Krakow, 55 miles away, site of a growing Jewish community.

LeMond described the ride as a powerful experience, saying, “It was an amazing event riding with two survivors 73 years after the Holocaust … We should never forget!”

Jonathan Ornstein, the director of the center in Krakow, who himself took part in the ride, said one survivor, Marcel Zielinski, biked the entire distance, while the second did 14 miles and traveled the rest of the way by car.

He said LeMond and his wife a day earlier visited the site of Auschwitz, where barracks and the ruins of gas chambers are an enduring testament of the atrocities committed there. They were also spending the weekend with his community.

“It was incredibly exciting for us to have such a famous international cyclist not only participate in the ride but get to know Krakow’s story of Jewish rebirth,” Ornstein said.

On the eve of the Holocaust, Poland was home to 3.3 million Jews. Most were murdered by Nazi Germany in death camps like Auschwitz and in ghettos.

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