web analytics
March 31, 2015 / 11 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


A Trip Through History

Teens-052512-Memorial

Of course, the same holds true for those who sang on their way into the gas chambers. The first camp we went to was Treblinka. The entire camp had been destroyed so there was absolutely nothing to see. This made it hard to connect with what happened there. The only thing there is a small museum with information on how the camp worked – oh and stones. There were stones everywhere, marking where the borders of the camp were and where the train platform was. A huge monument marked the spot were the gas chamber once stood. The rest of the vast clearing was barren. Well, not quite barren- there were 17,000 other stone monuments. Yes, 17,000 stones, each one commemorating a town or shtetel where people had come from.

We had come to Treblinka at night, but as far as my flashlight shined stone monuments surrounded me. It was sickening to think about Nazis sitting nearby drinking coffee or looking at the animals in the zoo on the grounds, while citizens of entire towns were being killed out a few yards away. There is no way explain the feelings that whirls inside when you know that you are standing in the place where 1 million people died simply because they were Jewish.

Visiting Auschwitz and Majdanek was bit different simply because they still looked like concentration camps. Auschwitz I had been turned into a museum. The biggest thing I got from the museum was a bit more of an appreciation for the number 6,000,000,000. One of the barracks was filled with piles of things behind glass – anything that was taken from the prisoners: brushes, talleisim, prosthetics, makeup, cooking utensils, suitcases, and what seemed like endless amount of shoes.

Entrance to Majdanek

And to think, people packed only the most important things. Each person came with only a tiny suitcase. These piles showed a tiny fraction of what was collected from millions of Jews who passed through the camps. The piles of ordinary everyday stuff helped to make the point that these prisoners were people; every one of the six million killed was an individual. At one point during our trip a friend retold something that really brought this point home. She had once heard someone refer to the six million who died as six million and one. The person answered the quizzical looks by explaining that once you say six million and one everyone starts thinking about that one- the person who made it six million and ONE. Was it a man or woman? Was he young or old? Was he a doctor, lawyer, grocer? Did he leave behind a family, children? What was he thinking as he took his last breath? We need to think of each of the six million kedoshim in this manner.

The last thing that we saw in Auschwitz I was the small gas chamber. Again, there is absolutely no way to describe what that was like. The room was completely empty except for a tiny monument, some flowers, and the pipes that carried the gas lining through the walls. At first, all I could think about was the people who died with the words of Shema on their lips in the very place I stood. In most cases they had no clue what was coming, they were completely unsuspecting. And as we as a group declared the yechidus of Hashem by saying Shema the words were said with tears and a newfound understanding of what they mean. As we made our way out, I felt such an appreciation for my life. All those who passed through the doorway during the Holocaust were not as lucky – they had already passed on to olam haemes.

The room right next door to the gas chamber was the crematorium. The long brick ovens sickened me. Strangely enough what I thought about when I saw the ovens was the poor souls who were forced to dispose of their brethren in such a horrific manner.

From there we made our way back out of the camp. We walked in silence. As we made our way to the buses, I saw everything through completely different eyes. The walk back to the bus seemed miles long – miles lined with the horrors of millions of people’s lives.

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 “A Trip Through History”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
More than 40 were killed in the bombing of a Yemeni refugee camp buy the Saudi-led strike force.
Attack on Yemeni Refugees Makes Israel Look Like the Girl Scouts
Latest Sections Stories
Food-Talk---Eller-logo

While we are all accustomed to the occasional recipe substitutions – swapping milk for creamer, applesauce for oil – gluten-free cooking is a whole different ballgame.

Something-Cooking-logo

Until the year I decided to put a stop to all my tremors. I realized that if I wanted my family to experience Pesach and its preparations as uplifting and fulfilling, I’d have to relax and loosen up.

Teens-032715

David looked up. “Hatzlacha, Dina,” he smiled. “I hope everything goes well.”

In 1756, when the ominous threat of Islamic terror against Jews reached Tunis as well, Friha became one of its tragic victims.

Are we allowed to lie for shalom bayis? It would seem so, but what might be a healthy guideline for when it’s okay and when it’s not?

The connection between what I experienced as a high school teenager and the adult I am today did not come easy to me.

Isn’t therapy about being yourself; aren’t there different ways for people to communicate with each other?

Jack was awarded a blue and gold first-place trophy, appropriately topped off with a golden bee.

Participating in ManiCures during the school day may feel like a break from learning, but the intended message to the students was loud and clear. Learning and chesed come in all forms, and can be fun.

Building campaign chairman Jack Gluck has led the effort over many years.

When using an extension cord always make sure to use the correct rated extension cord.

There was no question that when Mrs. Cohen entered the room to meet the teacher she was hostile from the outset.

Szold was among the founders and leaders (she served on its executive committee) of Ichud (“Unity”), a political group that campaigned against the creation of an independent, sovereign Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael.

My friend is a strong and capable Jewish woman, but she acted with a passivity that seemed out of character.

More Articles from Tzippy Klein
Teens-052512-Memorial

A week- seven days. That’s how long I spent in the dustbin of Jewish History that is Poland. I went there to learn about, and to see first hand, the country that housed the absolute horrors of the Holocaust, but I also went to see the places that had once housed such rich Jewish life. As such the trip focused, in my opinion, on three aspects of Jewish life in Poland: pre-war, the Holocaust years and then post-war.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/teens-twenties/a-trip-through-history/2012/05/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: