This Week in Poland

Blog image - This Week in Poland

Poland was a combination of many emotions and experiences. From having fun exploring a castle, to being sad at the death camps. You can learn about the Holocaust anywhere, but going to Poland allows for a deeper and more personal connection.

For me, this was most obvious not at a death camp, but in the Lupochowa Forest, which was the site of a mass murder of Jews by the Nazis. The camps were, of course, important, but many of them have been mostly or completely destroyed, and some of the others - like Auschwitz - feel more like a museum. Following the path of the Jews from their shtetl to the forest where they were murdered, and hearing witness testimonies of the atrocities allowed me to understand, as much as you really can, what happened. This site brought out the most emotions in me, from sadness to even surprise at how horrible the Holocaust really was.

I knew this trip was going to be hard and I was expecting it, but it had many enjoyable moments too. Shabbat was a time when we mostly took a step away from the Holocaust and had fun. We had services on Friday night where we sang and danced. Saturday, we got to explore the city of Krakow and tour an awesome castle. One of my favorite memories from the trip is the walk back from the castle when it started to rain. We took shelter under a bridge where someone was playing the violin. It was peaceful. I had a meaningful experience in Poland that was enhanced by being with friends and fellow Jews.



Eli Rishe is a high school junior from Los Angeles, CA, currently a student on Alexander Muss High School in Israel's Spring Semester.