150 of us started out from a terrible place under an angry sky. We rode as strangers, as friends, and as families. We climbed, we sweated, we fell, we flew. We thought about those who never left that terrible place. And in the end, we arrived. 150 of us together, under a blue sky, strangers no more, having made a journey that took us farther than the miles we rode. Welcomed into a place that has become for many a home. Close to that terrible place but at the same time far, far away.

- Jonathan Ornstein, JCC Krakow Executive Director


Ride For The Living is an annual fundraising event under the patronage of Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich. The 55-mile bicycle ride from Auschwitz-Birkenau to JCC Krakow commemorates the Holocaust, but also celebrates and supports the miraculous rebirth of Jewish life in Poland today. 

The fifth annual Ride For The Living will take place in June 2018. Ride For The Living consists of four days of educational and community programs, with the highlight of the bike ride on Friday.  

Ride For The Living was inspired by JCC Krakow member Robert Desmond who rode his bicycle 1,350 miles from London to Auschwitz visiting WWII sites of  liberation along his journey. After joining the JCC, meeting our community, and becoming an active member, he realized that his ride wasn’t finished. RFTL has grown from 15 participants in 2014 to 160 in 2017. 

Who Does Ride for the Living Help?

JCC Krakow provides a Jewish home for all generations through our Senior Club, whose membership includes over 70 Holocaust survivors, Hillel Gimel Student Club, Sunday School, Frajda preschool, and Club Bet for adults. Here are just two of our 650 Jewish members whose lives you have a chance to impact: 

I'm 82 years old and besides the Nazi occupation, which I survived by being hidden with my mother, I've lived my whole life in Krakow. Over the past six years, the JCC has become the focus of my life. I eat meals here, learn skills here, meet with my friends here, and simply feel at home. I can't tell you how important this place is to me and other people like me. Thank G-d we have this center.

Zofia, Holocaust Survivor

I found out about my Jewish roots when I was 13. At the time, I felt very lonely. There was a Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow, but not much else. When the JCC opened in 2008, I learned there were other people like me. The JCC is now my home away from home. I’m at the JCC every day. I finally feel like I am part of a community. It’s amazing to have the opportunity to show the world that Poland is not just a place of cemeteries and concentration camps. We are here and we are proud to be Jewish!

Olga, Hillel Gimel Jewish Student Club Member

Sign Up for 2018

If you're interested in joining the 2018 Ride For The Living, please email us at:



Can't make it for this year's Ride, but want to support the cause? Please click the donate button. If you wish to donate on behalf of a participant, please mention their name in the comment box of the donation form.


Click below to see photos from the 2017 Ride for the Living.


Click below to see photos from the 2016 Ride for the Living.


Click below to see photos from the 2015 Ride for the Living.

2014 Photos

Click below to see photos from the inaugural Ride for the Living.


Questions, comments or concerns? Contact us at ridefortheliving@jcckrakow.org