March 17, 2010
This is my first trip to Poland. The unique experience arose when I found out that Arbel's 11th grade was going on a mission to Poland, and I casually volunteered to accompany them as the group doctor. I'm pretty sure that I didn't even know there was such a thing a the group doctor. And I was selected from a group of four parent/grandparent doctors (I have to say already that I received compliments twice when one parent and one kid asked which of kids was my child, so it's already been a worthwhile trip).
I had never been motivated to actually see the sites in Poland which are such a fateful part of recent Jewish history. Enough the movies and books! But actually being in Krakow, and in the old Jewish quarter where the population was moved to a ghetto and then to the Plaszow concentration camp, and following in their footsteps was very moving. You could imagine the Poles standing on the sidewalks and jeering and spitting as their former neighbors were marched past. Not fair?
Today we were in Treblinka concentration and extermination camp, and then in Auschwitz. Walked under the Arbeit Macht Frei sign into eternity.
Going with a group of lively, healthy Israeli teenagers has to be the optimal way to visit. Kids wrapped in Israeli flags, speaking Hebrew, proof that the psychopathic Nazi regime was truly defeated, and that the Nazis to come will also be defeated.