Central Europe #2 – Update #4

Hello Friends and Family!

Please enjoy the following update written by Emilia, one of the teens on our trip!

We ate breakfast on Monday July 9th at 7:00 am and then boarded the bus when we rode for a few hours until we reached the memorial in the forest. Once there, we received the letters written by the family and split up to read them individually. Surrounded by the peaceful forest, everyone took the time to visit the mass graves of the children and polish citizens buried there. Some placed stones on the memorial and others stood in silence to remember those lost. We gathered at the grave of the children and read some of their names and recited the mourner’s Kaddish to remember their lives. We then got back on the bus and took a ride to the concentration camp Majdanek. This was a very emotional experience as we followed the story of a young girl who was taken there. In Majdanek, we saw the barracks and gas chambers as well as the place where prisoners were taken to be “disinfected”. While there we saw a moving exhibit of shoes, which showed approximately 430,000 pairs of shoes taken from some of the victims of the Holocaust. After this, we saw the crematorium of Majdanek and the memorial for the 42,000 people who lost their lives in 36 hours, a date of mass killing organized by the Nazis. Then, we went to the memorial of the camp which was a dome surrounding a large pile of ashes. Everyone was given time to observe quietly before we held a service and recited both the Hatikvah and the Mourner’s Kaddish along with poems regarding the atrocities of the Holocaust. We then boarded the bus and took a long ride to Warsaw. Once we arrived, we checked into the hotel and got a good night’s rest. The next day, July 10th, we headed to the the Jewish cemetery inside the Warsaw ghetto and visited the graves of people significant to not only our history, but also the history of the whole world. Following this, we visited a series of memorials commemorating people from Warsaw who saved Jews during the Holocaust. We then went to a square in Warsaw to enjoy lunch, and after we did a closing activity and went to the mall. Dinner was at a Chabad house where we enjoyed schnitzel and then ventured to the airport.

More updates soon!

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