WARSAW, Poland (AP) — 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 (89 kilometers) 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.
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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.