Poland Day Four

Today was an emotional and meaningful day. We started our day walking into Belzec extermination camp. The camp was completely destroyed by the Nazis but the memorial built in its place was extremely powerful. We heard passages from a survivor’s testimony. He was 1 of 5 survivors of Belzec. We then lit a yizkor candle in memory of the 500,000 Jewish lives lost there.

We then made our way to a shul in Lancut. The beautiful interior was decorated with artwork and prayers. We sang shira songs to bring Jewish life back into this shul for the short time we were there. We met the Christian man who devoted his life to preserve this shul and the Jewish people’s story. For no reason other than being a righteous man, he maintains the synagogue as well as Jewish belongings he found in the attic and he bought at markets. Among these belongings were kiddish cups, small pieces of Torah scrolls, a Mishnah and much more. With overwhelming feelings of gratitude, we all thanked him for keeping the Jewish memory alive in this space.

We then went to a forest where mass graves were found. These mass graves hold the bodies of many men, women and children from shtettles and small towns near by. We heard our tour guide, Ayal’s family’s story. And Risa’s father’s story. Both extremely powerful.

Chazak Ve’amatz

BI 2019

Gabriel Helfant