In recognition of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, 2,020 Dutch and German students will be biking from the Bergen-Belsen and Auschwitz concentration camps to the detention centre at Westerbork in the year 2020.
Translation by Traci White
RTV Drenthe reports that the “Back to Westerbork” project was announced at the former detention centre in Drenthe on Tuesday. The goal of the long distance bike ride is to encourage people not to take freedom and peace for granted.
A group of 75 research university and university of applied sciences students will begin the bike tour at Auschwitz, then they will cycle to Bergen-Belsen over the course of nine days. There, they will be joined by 1,945 students from vocational schools and then cycle for three more days across Germany to Westerbork, where they should arrive on the 4th of May.
Henk Emmens, who is the leader of the project foundation, says that the smaller group that will be biking from Auschwitz to Bergen-Belsen will primarily (but not exclusively) consist of students studying to become teachers. The students participating in the first leg will be selected based on motivation letters.
Emmens says that there will be a mix of Dutch and German students participating in the cycling event because the organisation feels it is important for students from both countries to hear from each other’s perspectives.
The project is expected to cost around one million euros, and the province of Drenthe will be covering at least part of that. The foundation is planning to approach other local parties in the coming months about contributing to the cycling tour through other donations and providing food for the participants.