These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Poland I

Posted on March 27, 2012 by Lauren Schuchart

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“For the dead and for the living; we must bear witness” – Elie Wiesel

On January 15th, I went to Poland with a group of students and faculty from my school. The trip was a “heritage seminar,” an opportunity to explore and appreciate the Jewish vibrancy that existed in Poland prior to World War II, much of which has left an enduring mark on the history of the Jewish people.

The other piece to the trip was to honor the victims of the Holocaust by bearing witness to this horrific period of human history. We visited death camps, cemeteries, and communities that were completely wiped out by the Nazis.

For me, it’s important that I share this information, this experience, with anyone that is willing to listen. The trip was not easy, and neither was writing about it. But by bearing witness, and by re-telling my experience, I feel as if we can keep the memories of the victims alive, and ensure that something like this never happens again.

My blogging is about to take a radical departure from it’s usual light-hearted content. I’ve written four posts that explain, in vivid detail, all that I saw and experienced in my 5 days in Poland. With all that I’ve written, there is still so much that has yet to be processed.

I hope you’ll take the time to read.

Pardes trips to Poland are run in partnership with Heritage Seminars. The Claims Conference has provided trip scholarships for qualifying Pardes participants, as well as subsidies for program components directed at Jewish educators.