This Week in Poland

Blog image - This Week in Poland

Starting Off With Yad Vashem

This week, we started Sunday with a visit to Yad Vashem, the national Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. After walking through the museum with our guide, we heard a survivor, Ruth, speak. Ruth grew up in Poland and was hidden in the attic of a Christian woman, and her story made an incredible impact on all our students. We learned about Jewish resistance, loss, and survival.

Traveling Poland  to Face the Past

On Monday, we flew to Warsaw. There, we learned about Oneg Shabbat, the buried documents and photographs that were hidden in the Warsaw Ghetto by the resistance fighters. We traveled to the Warsaw Cemetery, learning about the rich, vibrant Jewish life that flourished in Poland before the Jewish community's ghettoization. We walked to the Warsaw Ghetto Wall, which now stands innocuously in a residential neighborhood.  

On Tuesday, we traveled to Tykochin, a city with a brilliant Jewish community whose beit knesset survived the war. From there, we journeyed to the Lubochowa Forest, where we learned the sad fate of the vast majority of the Tykochin community. After lunch, we traveled to Treblinka, a death camp outside of Warsaw, where we learned about the atrocities of the camp and about the uprising that took place there.  

On Wednesday, we traveled to Parczew exploring the Jewish history and the partisan resistance that took place there. After lunch, we went to Majdanek, outside Lublin, initially a forced labor camp.  

Watching History Play Out Today

On Thursday, we visited Yeshiva Chachamei Lublin, the Sages of Lublin Yeshiva, and discovered the learning that took place there leading up to the war. At this moment, it is serving as a refugee camp for Ukrainian Jews displaced in the Russian-Ukrainian War. Afterwards, we visited the Markowa Museum and heard more about the 'righteous among the nations', non-Jews, like the Ulma family, who risked their lives to try to save Jews during the war.  

On Friday, we learned more about the long history of the Jews of Kazimierz, who lived under the protection of King Casimir, for whom the Jewish part of the city is named. Kazimierz remained a Jewish religious and cultural hub into the 1930's, when its Jewish residents were rounded up and taken to a ghetto across the river. Later, some of the residents of Kazimierz arrived to Plaszow concentration camp. This site is well-known because of its connection the Oskar Schindler's enamelworks factory, where he tried to protect his Jewish workers, preventing the deportation of more than 1,000 Jews.  

While this week has been heavy, it has remained important to educate ourselves about the wealth of Jewish life and history that existed in sites like these, and all that was lost in the last century. We go into this Shabbat ready for rest and filled with pride in our Jewish roots. 


Our semester trip to Poland always remains a highlight for both staff and students, as it allows us to delve into our past while we prepare the next generation for the future. Alexander Muss High School in Israel is proud to provide our students with the knowledge and the tools needed to combat the ignorance of Jew-hatred and stand up for their Jewish identities.

You can learn more about how AMHSI is the answer for the next generation of Zionist leaders here