Thousands of people from around the world, many draped in Israeli flags, have paid homage to the victims of the Holocaust with a somber march from the barracks of Auschwitz to nearby Birkenau.

Organizers of the March of the Living, held annually on Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day, said about 10,000 participated in the event Thursday in southern Poland, occupied by Nazi Germany during World War II.

Among them were about 150 Holocaust survivors, Israel's justice minister, Knesset members and people from 42 countries.

As participants arrived at the gates of Birkenau, some knelt to pray and light candles on the railway tracks that carried Jews, Roma and others from across Europe to their death in gas chambers. Birkenau is where most of the death camp complex's victims were killed.