Saturday, June 21, 2008

Poland Journal - Day 2- Warsaw

May 26, 2008
כ"א אייר תשס"ח

Monday: A day of anger; a day of contrasts. We visit the “active” Jewish sites: The Nozick synagogue (restored) where the March of the Living takes over when it comes to visit; the Lauder School which our friend Helise established; and the “Youth Lounge” for lack of a better term. These are the places that are “alive.”


We visit the places that are dead…

The Warsaw Ghetto

A last remaining fragments of the Ghetto Wall

The Jewish Cemetery of Warsaw

A Monument to the Ghetto Uprising and The Holocaust Center

It is at the Holocaust Center that the anger, already brewing in anticipation of the trip, really bubbles to the surface. The story of the Warsaw Ghetto is terrifying and disturbing and the Center tells the story in words, in still photos, and in archival film footage. Here is what the Shoah is or was. There is no whitewashing here.

In many, if not most educational settings today, we are afraid that pictures of the Shoah will frighten or disturb and so we do not show them. The turn to personal testimonies of survivors as the central way to teach the Shoah is crucial. They bear witness to this incomprehensible tragedy and murder and will do so long after those who suffered but survived are gone. The personal testimony captures the experience of the individual, of the one. To begin to grasp the enormity, the collective suffering, murder and death of six million Jews, one must, at the right age, see these pictures and films. They ARE grotesque. They ARE horrifying. And…They must be seen in order to try and conceive the inconceivable.

My blood boils. The feeling of impurity, the poison of the place, grows stronger and stronger.

No comments: