web analytics
August 20, 2014 / 24 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Eighteen…

One of the mass graves at Chelmno.

One of the mass graves at Chelmno.

I’ve written about breaking points – we all have a point that breaks us, a moment where we just don’t think we can go on. Some are more real than others; some take you closer to the edge. I had two in Poland.

The first was near the ruins of the crematoria in Auschwitz. I had brought a picture from Israel – of Shmulik’s bar mitzvah celebration at the Western Wall, the Kotel. I pressed it into the ruins of the crematoria – a gift to my great-grandmother and to Lazer’s four grandparents, uncles, aunts and more who died there. And then, when I saw it there, I broke inside.

The second was in a place I never expected. I knew the minute the bus turned into this tiny village that it was going to be bad. It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon, and the bus had to back up a few times to make the turns on the tiny streets. And the harder it was, the more I knew they would only be bringing us here to see something really bad.

What I saw was a wall surrounding a large area, and in the center a small monument. Fields behind and to the side. And I listened to what 1,600 Polish villagers did to their 1,500 Jewish neighbors…they rounded them up, herded them into the synagogue, and set fire to the building and watched them die…here on that spot where we stood…once there had been a synagogue and 1,500 people, men, women, and children had died here. I looked at the ground and felt I was standing on their blood and I felt sick. But if the sin of the murder was not enough, for the next 60 years, they lied and refused to admit it.

At the end of the war, Jedwabne said their Jews were murdered by the Nazis…though not a single German was in the small village in August 1941 when the Jews died. Jedwabne is about betrayal and murder and represents the ugliest of what is in man. I listened to how in 2001, on the 60th anniversary of the massacre, Poland admitted that it was Poles and not Germans who murdered the Jews of Jedwabne.

As I stood near the monument with the Jewish star and the Israeli flag, and heard about how the villagers made noise and tried to disrupt the ceremony and how, to this day, the monument that stands there only refers to the “1,500 Jews who were murdered.”

It was a huge improvement over the one that had stood for 60 years with the lie, “For the 1,500 Poles who were murdered by the Hitlerites.” Only it wasn’t the Nazis who murdered them and they weren’t murdered because they were Poles. It was Poles that murdered them, and it was because they were Jews. There were no Russians, no Germans in Jedwabne on the day the townspeople murdered their Jewish neighbors.

I listened. I saw the monument, and I just broke inside. I told the tour organizers and Amira that I was done…right there in that village…and couldn’t take anymore. I wanted to take a cab to the airport and wait for the rest of the group. I told Amira to stay with the group but I had to go. We were leaving Poland that night, but I couldn’t wait. They wouldn’t let me go. I told them I was an adult, though I probably wasn’t acting like one. Ultimately, I somehow found the strength to stay with the group, to go to yet another concentration camp – Treblinka…but all I could do was wait for the wheels of the plane to leave Poland. And when they did, I took my first real breath and prayed the flight would go quickly. All I wanted was to put my feet down on Israeli soil, to touch the ground, to be home.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Eighteen…”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
James Foley and his Islamic State executioner.
ISIS Beheadings Mark Declared War on the United States
Latest Blogs Stories
Touro-012414-Goals

We all got degrees. We got married. We had families. We worked. We and were Koveih Itim

UNHRC war crimes panel head William Schabas - Not a good Schabas

But the real culprit is William Schabas, who by comparison makes Richard Goldstone look like a saint

South Africa of Flag

“The Jewish board of deputies, who are complicit, will feel the wrath of the People of SA with the age old biblical teaching of an eye for an eye.”

Doug Goldstein

Discussion on recent changes to Social Security benefits and how it will effect you.

I do not understand why Bibi or anyone else (Obama) would ever contemplate accepting any terms by an organization that states loud and clear their goal of Israel’s destruction.

It’s the 4th time in 5 years Maccabi Haifa has traveled to America to play against NBA competition.

The media dumped on the “Lehava” people as extremist – racist and should mind their own business.

What is the point of having our own state when it cooperates with those who are against us?

It was the “first family event I missed due to aliyah.”

Antisemitism, stupidity, fear, or exaggeration?

 “If I’m not back in 5 minutes, I’m dead” Lt. Eitan lead a group of soldiers into the tunnel, warning them that it could be booby trapped and that if danger arose, they needed to open fire immediately. “There, I saw Hadar’s blood and his equipment.” To his right, Eitan found bags blocking the passage […]

I am a right wing religious Jewish settler and I HATE seeing pictures of kids in Gaza who are dying or suffering because of this war.

Doug speaks with World Chess Cahmpion Magnus Carlsen.

If they weren’t true they would be funny!

Professor Aumann: Instead of hitting the opponent… step back and allow the opponent to hit himself

A letter from a survivor who recounts the horrors of the 1929 pogrom in Hebron.

More Articles from Paula Stern
candles on tracks

I love that most of my kids don’t actually read this blog – it gives me a freedom.

KL Majdanek. Mglisty paŸdziernikowy poranek 2008

The smell may be gone, but the air remains poisoned by the hatred.

My son continues to move slowly towards the army while working to complete his final year in high school.

It’s a strange feeling to known that a missile is flying towards your country and there is nothing you can do about it.

I’ll start by explaining that in Israel, a common phrase is “yehiye b’seder” – it will be okay.

At one point the Dr. asked me if I was famous because of the blog…

There are ashes that remain in the ovens, ashes piled into a mountain in Maidanek.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/a-soldiers-mother/eighteen/2014/01/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: