MOTL #1

After our safe arrival in Krakow, we were excited to start our journey today.

First, we toured the Jewish Quarter, Kazimierz. While this area may be small in size, it is certainly quite large in stature. Home to many synagogues and former prestigious institutions, it was exciting for our teens to see these incredible relics from our glorious past. In this area, we were able to see numerous synagogues and old and renovated Jewish institutions. Specifically, we visited the Isaak synagogue and the Remu Synagogue and adjacent cemetery. In this ancient and hallowed burial grounds, we visited the graves of such incredible Jewish heroes of the past such as the Remu, and his family, Tosfot Yom Tov and the martyred Mattis Calohara.

We concluded our day with a moving visit to Plac Zgody, the tragic spot from which the Jews were deported from Krakow and ultimately sent to their deaths.

BACKGROUND: Krakow was the historic capital of Poland from the 10th to the 16th century, and there were Jews in Krakow from the beginning until World War II. During the Nazi occupation in 1939, Krakow became the capital of the Nazi Government. After the Nazis expelled 40,000 Jews, a ghetto was established (1941) in Podgorze. There were up to 18,000 Jews living in 300 houses, as well as storage spaces, attics, rooms under staircases, and in basements. It was a time of intense cruelty by the Germans and random killings.

The teens are a terrific group of young adults and we are having a lot of fun getting to know each other. I will be sharing their thoughts with you nightly, as I know they have a lot to say. They are in their rooms now, mostly sleeping and all are anticipating our experiences in Poland this week.

Tomorrow, we are starting our day at the sole surviving synagogue of Osweicim (Polish name for the city of Auschwitz) and then traveling to the Auschwitz/Birkenau concentration camps afterward.

I know that I will have a lot to share with you tomorrow night. I’ll be in touch.

Don’t forget to check the Facebook albums for photos over the next few days. To view links to these albums, please refer to the landing message.

Take care, everyone!

Rabbi Meir Tannenbaum
April 30, 2019

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