Reflections on Poland, Day One
4 years ago Leighest 0
By Zack Horowitz, Wilmington, Delaware
Our first day in Poland…wow. We arrived a bit tired from our long journey, but with some tasty snacks at the Warsaw Chabad, and our CTeen spirit, nothing could stop us! We started off at the Warsaw cemetery where we learned about the impressive, substantial lives of prominent Jews as well as the thriving Jewish community in Warsaw before the Holocaust. Did you know that Warsaw was one third Jewish before World War Two? This is very different to today, where there are minimal Jews, and many of those who are Jewish do not even reveal their Judaism to their community. This was a pretty devastating fact to take in-the profound impact that the Holocaust had on Judaism in Poland is heartbreaking. After the cemetery, we made a quick stop to the eerie Warsaw ghetto wall where hundreds of thousands of Jews struggled to survive in tragic, inhumane living conditions. After a crash course on the history of Jews in Poland starting from over a millennium ago all the way up to World War Two, we made a long drive to the Treblinka extermination camp where 900,000 Jews were brutally murdered, especially through the use of gas chambers. The Nazis destroyed almost every last trace of the camp in order to hide their heinous crimes, but many memorial pieces have been built for people to visit and never forget the horrible events that occurred and the people who we lost. Many of us agreed that the feeling of being there was not a feeling that could be described, but it was definitely a surreal and moving experience to be standing on the exact spot that almost a million of our own were executed. We decided that the most meaningful way to pay our respects to the dead at Treblinka was to all pray together in their honor. After a long but special day, we arrived at out hotel to get some needed rest. God willing, our next journey will be as meaningful as the one today!