So why is coming to Poland and the Czech Republic my dream places to go? Maybe it’s not necessarily a dream place, but more of a bucket list place. As many of you know, I have studied the Holocaust since Junior high school and started teaching it in high school. Ever since I had parents in junior high who came up to me and said that they never knew anything about the Holocaust, I could not not teach these important lessons and that it should never happen again. Not only to Jews but to anyone.
This trip is all significant for all of us traveling from TBS because we just completed a year of restoring our Czech Torah. If we could’ve, we would’ve brought it with us, but we carry it with us in our hearts. We don’t know exactly from which town or synagogue it came, but we feel like we are bringing a part of it home with us on this trip as we experience how life continues to flourish in Poland. Out of the ashes greatness still can rise!
Here I sit, in a hotel in Warsaw, Poland. A place where out of the 3,500,000 Jews, only 350,000 Jews remained. All other Jews had been murdered during the Holocaust with a total of over 6 million Jews from Eastern Europe murdered at the hands of the Nazis. Here I sit in Warsaw, Poland where 95% of the city was completely destroyed but now it is a bustling metropolitan area.
As soon as we arrived, we boarded our bus with our tour educator, Ron, and Warsaw guide. Marik. Even though we have been traveling for about 16 hours, we were ready to see our first site, the Nozyk Synagogue. This synagogue was built in 1902 and during the war it was only inside the ghetto for a couple of weeks before the walls were removed and then it seem to have been forgotten. Therefore, it remained standing at the end of the war, one of the very few buildings left in the city. While it has undergone major restorations over the years, it is still hauntingly beautiful. When inside, some of the windows were unlocked and as the wind blew they would open and close, almost as if those from the past were coming in to greet us.
We checked into our hotel, had a few minutes to freshen up, then back out the door again to an amazing dinner at Momu restaurant. The food definitely did not disappoint and the company, even better!
We have an amazing group touring with us and all of our life lessons and family histories will be woven into the story we are going to experience in these next nine days.
So yes, I’m fulfilling one of my bucket list items and I’m so grateful I get to do it with this wonderful group of people. I look forward to sharing this experience with all of you.
Good night from Warsaw, Poland.
PS pictures will be posted on Facebook