Poland Day Six

Today was a different kind of day. Instead of starting on the bus, we began our day with a walking tour of Krakow.

Before we began the tour, we were divided into groups and given a sheet of paper. This sheet of paper contained the cornerstones of a Jewish community. This program was done to teach us about the importance of having a Jewish community. Many of us do not realize how lucky we are having so many services available to us and we take most of them for granted. We discussed the necessity of maintaining a Jewish community and protecting the dwindling Jewish population.

After the community building exercise we began our walking tour of the Jewish quarter in Krakow. We saw the cemetery where the famous Rabbi Ramah is buried and the Shul that is dedicated in his memory. We then went to another Shul that was at the forefront of modern Shul architecture and design as well as one of the first Shuls outside of the historic Jewish quarter. After the tour of the Jewish quarter, we enjoyed a Pizur lunch.

After lunch, we moved onto the Krakow ghetto. We toured to relatively small Ghetto learning about the resistance that occurred outside of the ghetto. We finished the tour in the main square in which there is a memorial for those who perished when the ghetto was liquidated.

We then continued onto Schindler’s factory. This was an extremely important stop for on this tour. As a grandchild of someone who was on Schindler’s List and someone who worked at that factory, I felt a deep connection to the place. Seeing the gates that my grandfather would have passed through on his way to work struck a deep chord within me. At these gates I shared my grandfather’s story with the group.

Our next stop was also of importance to me. We visited the concentration camp Płaszów where my grandfather was an inmate. This camp was especially hard for most of us as there was nothing left. Unlike Belzec, there is life growing there and a park where people walk their dogs, ride their bikes and enjoy coffee with friends. At the camp, we read the letter our parents had made for us on the reasons of why coming on this trip is of importance. As we were at Płaszów, reading letters from our parents many people got emotional. We ended the day by seeing the monument that the Russians had erected in honour of the victims of Płaszów.

We are heading to bed early as we are off on an early flight to Israel tomorrow.

Chazak Ve’ematz

Nate Feldman

Gabriel Helfant