web analytics
March 27, 2015 / 7 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

From Holocaust To Rebirth

Unfortunately, my idea that Israel is a country that fights for Jewish values, and would do anything for Jewish citizens, was shattered just one month after coming back from a trip to Poland.
Local Tel Aviv residents protest against the illegal infiltrators that have taken over their neighborhood.

Local Tel Aviv residents protest against the illegal infiltrators that have taken over their neighborhood.
Photo Credit: Tomer Neuberg/ FLASH90

Last year, together with my high school friends from Yeshiva Bnei Akiva Givat Shmuel, I joined the Annual March to Poland in the footsteps of the Shoah.

As soon as I stepped off the plane, I could feel the gray, empty and lifeless weather that prevails in Poland, and instantly realized that Poland is a place devoid of life. It rains or snows almost all the time at this time of the year, and there is hardly a glimmer of sunlight. How different it is with our tiny country blessed with good weather, blue skies and a shining, smiling sun.

During the tour, we saw the Polish villages and towns where Jews lived before the war. As we continued our trip, we visited the ghettos and saw firsthand the living conditions (if you can call it that – for which there are inadequate words to describe). It was obvious that all the members of the delegation found it most difficult to grasp this nightmarish reality wherein the Jews were forced to live. In each housing unit, 20 people were forced to share the meager food provided for such a group and live as normal a family life as possible under the harshest of conditions.

After completing our visit to the villages and ghettos, we came to the most difficult part of our journey – a visit to the death camps.

First, at Auschwitz; we saw all the Jewish valuables and stolen property that remained, from the dishes and eating utensils they carried with them, to babies’ shoes. It was staggering to look at this chilling display, and at the same time marvel at how people who were limited in what they could take with them, nevertheless chose to take their tallit and tefillin. I then understood that in that gray and chilling reality, there still shone the light that is Yisrael. And despite all the difficulties they endured, their devotion to the Creator remained steadfast under all circumstances. The faith and optimism that accompanies every Jew was so much an integral part of their identity that they refused to leave holy valuables and sacred objects, although this could likely cost their lives.

Another thought that came to mind was how much we must appreciate even the smallest thing, and not to put down the smallest blessing we have, whether it is with food or clothing, and even the more simple. Also, I thought about how we treat our own tallit and tefillin, that for which people were willing to forfeit their lives in order to perform these mitzvot. Things we have today should not be taken for granted.

At one point, when we entered a building where 600 Jews lived in sub-human conditions, our guide asked us to remove our shoes and socks as we walked around the cabin, so we should be able to physically feel the cold. After a few moments, it was obvious that most were shivering and could hardly move about. Before we got frost bite, our guide then instructed us to put back our shoes and socks. It was only after we removed our shoes that we were able to feel somewhat the conditions that existed at the time.

And unlike us, they were not able to put on some shoes when they felt the bitter cold. In addition, they were forced to do slave labor, while we were only receiving a description from our guide. We were sure this was only a drill to demonstrate a point, and in a few moments we would be able to put back our shoes. But not them. Even to think about shoes or a blanket or coat to warm up was a fantasy light years distant away from any reality.

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.

3 Responses to “From Holocaust To Rebirth”

  1. Funny thing is Jewish leaders love Obama and his ccommunist party here in the us. I bet they don’t in israel

  2. Duane, Jewish people live everyone, or are supposed to, so take your ignorance and hate elsewhere.

  3. Duanut stop your stew-ity and stop your dumbness about U.S and mixing your words its not ccommunist idiot! And without Israel the U.S.A would not exist. You should be Catholic. And stop hating our Jewish people, we carry their blood. So stop making funny jokes. Hitler was athiest point blank…… And Christians dont like symbols or the sign of the cross, so shut up and get a life check, and know that We Jewish Catholic People ARE not stupid. Honor thy Father and Thy Mother.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu to Release Frozen Palestinian Authority Tax Revenue
Latest Indepth Stories
Islamic Relief Worldwide Logo

In November 2014, Islamic Relief Worldwide was classified as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.

Safran-032715

Too rarely appreciated for its symbolic weight; it can represent freedom and independence.

Erica Pelman is a spiritually-driven woman. She is founder and director of “In Shifra’s Arms” (ISA), an organization that offers aid to pregnant Jewish women of all religious backgrounds practically, financially and emotionally. Its arms are open to any pregnant woman in need whether single, divorced, separated, or from a financially-strapped family. “Presently, we are […]

Gerstenfeld-032715

Many so-called “humanitarian NGOs” frequently abuse Israel by applying false moral equivalencies

Israeli history now has its version of “Dewey Defeats Truman” with headlines from 2 anti-Bibi papers

In God’s plan why was it necessary that Moses be raised by Pharaoh, away from his own family&people?

In their zechus may we all come to appreciate that life is a fleeting gift and resolve to spend every precious moment of it as if it were the last.

In any event, Mr. Netanyahu after the election sought to soften his statement on Palestinian statehood and apologized for what he conceded were remarks that “offended some Israeli citizens and offended members of the Israeli Arab community.”

A worthy idea any way you look at it.

There is something quite distinctive about the biblical approach to time.

The Waqf kept control of the Temple Mount due to Dayan’s “magnanimity in victory” after 6 Day war

The event promotes “1 state” solution (end of Israel as a Jewish State), BDS, lawfare against Israel

I rescued you?! You’re doing me a favor letting me help you!

“Tzedakah tatzil mi-mavet: Charity saves from death”; No death & a tax break? Where do I sign up?

More Articles from Gilad Schwartz

With the recent kidnapping by the Hamas and the barbaric murder of three children – Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Frankel, we believe that the best answer to honor the memory of those murdered is to continue building those very communities – large and small – that our enemies are trying to destroy.

Local Tel Aviv residents protest against the illegal infiltrators that have taken over their neighborhood.

Unfortunately, my idea that Israel is a country that fights for Jewish values, and would do anything for Jewish citizens, was shattered just one month after coming back from a trip to Poland.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/from-holocaust-to-rebirth/2014/04/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: