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Poland January 2011 / 5771

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Poland January 2011 / 5771 - Page Text Content

S: January 2011 ~ POLAND ~ Tevet 5771

FC: POLAND January, 2011 Tevet, 5771

1: DAY 1 Tikocyn, Poland *Shtetl Life* | Synagogue (Shul) | Rynek (Town Square) | Heder (schoolroom)

2: T h e T o w n o f | Tikocyn | The first Jews (10 men) arrived in 1522 under permission from the King in order to jump start economic success in the town.

3: Inside the Tikocyn Shul | Built in 1642 | The shul is made of stone, not wood. This shows their intention to stay permanently. | Prayers were often written on the wall to encourage community participation since many people did not have personal copies of the text. | Lecha Dodi!

5: The Tykocin town square, in front of the church, where the Jews of Tikocyn were assembled prior to their mass execution.

6: Here is where the 2,000 Jews of Tikocyn were brought to be executed in mass graves.

7: The Lupachowa Forest | No one survived. After 400 years, the Jews of Tikocyn were obliterated, in two days.

8: Day 1, continued Warsaw, Poland | N O Z Y K | S Y N A G O G U E | Prior to WWII Poland's Jewish population was ~10% Warsaw's Jewish population was ~30% The Shtetl's Jewish population ~50% Today, the most optimistic numbers estimate Jews are 1% of the Polish population. Numbers range from 2,000 to 30,000 Jews in Poland.

9: The Nozyk Shul is the only remaining synagogue in Warsaw, with approximately 600 members. | Many people in the current Polish Jewish community were unaware of their Jewish roots until a later age. Many members have converted due to unclear family lineage. | There is a Kosher restaurant, a mikveh as well as social, educational and religious events throughout the year.

10: The Warsaw Ghetto | Two sides of the same monument. The left picture shows the Jews as helpless, the top picture shows them as fighters.

11: Memorial for Szmul Zygielbojm | A Polish politician and Bundist who tried, in vain, to motivate the Allies into action on behalf of the Jews. Upon hearing of the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto, he committed suicide. | His suicide note stated, "I cannot stay silent and I cannot live while the remnants of the Polish Jewry are dying."

12: Ghetto Uprising Headquarters Mila 18 The property had been owned by the Leener family. | Jews as Fighters | In addition to military fighting, the Jews worked to leave behind documents of information. The project was called "Oneg Shabbat." Ultimately they were able to save and store three canisters documenting ghetto life. Two were recovered after the war.

13: Memorial at the Umschlagplatz Station | Here, thousands of Jews were put on trains destined for various camps.

14: DAY 2 Warsaw, Poland *Old Jewish Cemetery* | Downtown Warsaw, | completely rebuilt after WWII. | Warsaw was destroyed in 3 stages: 1939 - German army enters Poland 1943 - Warsaw Ghetto Uprising 1944 - Polish Revolt

15: Ludwik Zamenhof's grave creator of Esparanto language *language of peace* | A Moyel's grave see the knife?! | The sewers, through which children smuggled goods into the ghetto. | A grave from 1962, post WWII. The poor Hebrew script and misspellings show the lack of education in the Jewish community which remained in Warsaw.

18: DAY 2, continued Majdanek Concentration Camp Lublin, Poland

20: Originally built as a Prisoner of War camp in 1940 for Soviets and Poles. | The close proximity to Lublin was dictated by the need for current train tracks. In 1942 it became a "death camp" as mass transports of Jews arrived. | Memorial built by and for the Soviets and Poles.

21: Zyklon B The cyanide-based pesticide poison most commonly used in the gas chambers. It was tested at Majdanek. | The blue stains on the wall is residue from the poison. It is unclear whether the testing at Majdanek was done on humans. | Empty canisters of Zyklon B

22: The Crematorium

23: DAY 2, continued Lublin, Poland | O L D L U B L I N | CEMETERY | Lublin is where many of the most famous rabbis learned and the discussions which would shape Judaism as we know it today were occurring in the 1500s. | One such debate was whether to codify Halacha (Jewish law). The Shachna Rebbe refused to leave written records and to codify because he felt it would destroy the process. His two students, the Marashal and the Ramal, disagreed. The Marashal believed we should codify in a way that only intellectuals could understand and interpret the laws. The Ramal believed that halacha should be codified and available to all. | Rabbi Shalom Shacna's grave | The Chozeh of Lublin's grave | A Hasidic seer in the early 1800s.

24: Yeshivat Chachmai Lublin | YCL instituted two radical changes to yeshiva learning 1) Daf Yomi - learning one page of Talmud a day, everywhere in the world. 2) Student dormitories - so that students could live in close proximity to the beit midrash. | Founded by Rabbi Meir Shapiro in 1930

25: Learning Torah inside the Yeshiva, chevruta style. It's what these walls were built for! | R A M B A M | There are 3 crowns: 1) crown of kings 2) crown of priests 3) crown of Torah | The crown of Torah is the greatest because it is for all the people of Israel.

26: Town of Zamosc | Pardes was asked to affix the mezzuzah to rededicate the Zamosc Shul!

27: The organization responsible for the restoration of Jewish buildings only recently finished the restoration process a few weeks before! | Inside the Zamosc Shul

28: DAY 3 From Zamosc... | The Rynek in Zamosc is centered around the municipal building, NOT the church. The town of Zamosc was dominated by economics and business rather than religion. The church was located outside of town ryneck. | A light morning jog around the rynek!

29: ...to Belcez Extermination Camp Belcez, Poland | One of the 3 camps built under "Operation Reinhard." These camps were built with one purpose: extermination of the Jews.

31: Underneath all the rocks and metal which comprises the memorial of Belcez, lies the mass grave of the approximately 500,000 Jews, who were gased and cremated.

32: Belcez was a very small camp with a very small staff, and one purpose. At its height the camp had 20 SS Officers working at once. | Construction began in November of1941, and the first transport arrived at Belcez in March of 1942.

33: In December 1942, the final transports arrived. By April 1943, they had finished cremating all the bodies. | The SS officers with the help of Jewish prisoner's liquidated the camp. The Jewish prisoners were sent to Sobibor, another Reinhard Camp, to be killed. | "By mid-March 1942, some 75-80% of all victims of the Holocaust were still alive, while 20-25% had perished. A mere eleven months later, mid-February 1943, the percentages were exactly reversed."

34: Day 3 continued Lezajsk, Poland | One of the founders of the Hasidic movement, specifically in Poland. | The Grave of the Elimelech of Lezajsk | (1717 - 1787) | The Elimelech's writing emphasized the need to create positive relationships horizontally, with people, before you can build and create a vertical relationship, with God.

35: Learning the "Tefila Kodem Tefila" at the Elimelech's grave! | He wrote a "Tefila Kodem Tefila," a prayer before praying. The prayer emphasizes how we are often unprepared to pray, to open our mouths, admit our sin and pledge to do tshuva, repentence. The Elimelech's prayer is asking Gd to help us pray, since prayer is not easy feat.

36: Lancut Shul Lancut, Poland | Discovery site! Our reward for being so timely | F I S H | Built in 1791 | :-)

37: Zbilitovska Gora Forest: Mass grave to 7,000 Jews | Here, both the Jews and Poles of Tarnov were executed. Children were exucuted separately from their parents. This was done, against the norm, because Amon Goeth wanted to prove his superior talents as an SS Captain.

38: Family connections in Poland! Discovery Site! | S O S N O W I E C | Home of Yoav Kimelman - Holocaust survivor | Grandfather of Levi Cooper Our Fearless Leader

39: Auschwitz I | Day 4 Near to Oswiecim, Poland

40: Only prisoners in the Auschwitz camps were tatooed with numbers on their arms. Since there were so many prisoners, tatooing became the most effecient way to keep track of individuals. | Both Jews and non-Jews were prisoners and victims of the Auschwitz camps.

41: Auschwitz I was the administrative center of the 48 Auschwitz camps. Originally it served as Polish army barracks. | The first transport of prisoners arrived in 1940. Less than a year later, the population of the camp was approximately 11,000. Most of them were Poles. | It is estimated that 1.1 million people died at Auschwitz. Approximately 90% of them were Jewish. While most died as a result of the gas chambers, about 500,000 died from disease and starvation.

42: Prosthetics and crutches | Kitchenware Most are colored blue or red for kashrut. | Brushes and Cosmetic items. | Glasses | Collected by the Nazis when the prisoners arrived at Auschwitz

43: Suitcases

44: AUSCHWITZ- BIRKENAU | Most trains did not pull directly into the Birkenau camp. They stopped outside and prisoners walked the remaining meters into the camp.

45: Towards the end of 1944 the Nazis built the additional train spur which led directly into the Birkenau camp. For the most part, only Hungarian Jews used this late additional track.

46: From inside the watchtower

47: The camp goes as far as the eye can see.

48: Previously a crematorium, it was dismanteled by the Nazis before they abandoned Auschwitz in 1945 | Placed on the land which is filled with ashes of those who were cremated.

49: Due to the horrible stench, SS officers refused to enter the toilet rooms, allowing prisoners a time and place to be completely alone. | The toilet rooms were the scene of many trades and illegal activity amongst prisoners. | Most of the items traded came directly from the belonging of those who had already died. Prisoners were given the task of sorting through suitcases, and sometimes had the opportunity to take food or other commodities they found. | You needed to be strong, both physically and emotionally, to survive the camps.

50: Meeting Paulina A Righteous Gentile | Day 4 continued Krakow, Poland | Award and medal from Yad Va'Shem in Jerusalem. Paulina and her parents saved the lives of more than 20 Jews.

51: Paulina's parents and her as a teenager, during the war. | Some of the people Paulina and her family saved. Including a mother and her 4 year old daughter! | When asked if there was any discussion in her house about whether to risk their lives in order to try to save Jews she answered, "There was always discussion about HOW to save people, but not whether to save people. Our strong religious [Catholic] faith made us know that we had save human life whenever possible."

52: Day 5 Krakow, Poland

54: The Jewish marketplace of Krakow

55: The Alter Shul | built in 1488

56: The Remu Shul

57: Synagogues in Krakow, the royal city of Poland, are known for their crowns. Traditionally, they have 3 crowns: ONE the crown of Poland TWO the crown of heaven, THREE the crown of Torah. | Fence around the bima, is like a fence around the Torah.

58: The Old Cemetery of Krakow

59: R' Yoel Sirkis, aka the Bach Magnum Opus: Bayit Chadash, an elucidation of the Torah in accordance with the Talmud Wanted to make talmudic texts as accurate as possible | Moses Isserles, aka the Remu Magnum Opus: Ha-Ma'pah, a commentary on the Shulkhan Aruch By commenting on the Shulkhan Aruch, rather than codifying his own work of law, he secured his place in Jewish textual history. | R' Lipmann Heller Magnum Opus: Tosefot Yom Tov, commentary on the Mishnah Asked to be buried next the miser of Krakow when it was discovered that the miser was secretly funding the community.

60: In the late 1800s, the Progressive movement, which began as the Reform movement in Germany, had a profound influence on the Polish Jewish community. | This shul was built in 1860 The rabbi spoke in the vernacular, there was a choir with an organ, and separate women seating. | C R O W N S

61: The women's section | Known as "The Temple"

62: Day 5 continued Krakow, Poland | Hasiday Amot HaOlam | 3. Must have provided repeated or substantial assistance 4. Must not have received financial compensation | 1. Must be nominated by a Jew 2. Must have helped a Jew

63: The Schindler Factor | Irena Sendler Polish Catholic social worker who saved 2,500 Jewish children. She was imprisoned and tortured, yet still continued helping children. In addition, she kept the names and identities of the children to enable their reunification after the war. | Raoul Wallenberg A Sweedish Humanitarian who found hiding places or protective documentation for tens of thousands of Jews in Sweden. | Chiune Sugihara A Japanese diplomat who issued visas which saved the lives over 6,000 Jews. | Righteous Among The Nations

64: Day 5 continued Kielce, Poland | The Kielce Jewish community was founded from around the 1800s. Most of the Jews were sent to Treblinka. After the war, 200 survivors returned to find their families and reestablish the community. Most of them lived at 7 Planty Street. | On July 1, 1946 a Polish man blamed the Jews of 7 Planty for kidnapping his son. While the police resolved that there was no basis to this claim, a crowd quickly gathered. Weapons of the Jews were confiscated and the crowd turned violent. By the end of July 4, 42 Jews had been killed by a mob of 5,000 Poles, approximately 1/4 of the population of Kielce. | POST-WAR POLAND

65: The pogrom spread throughout the town. By the end of the day, a total of 75 Jews were dead and 400 injured. | No police came to the aid of the Jews. The Catholic Church refused to condemn anti-semitic acts publicly. And the Polish Prime Minister felt that in order to keep votes, he could not have an "anti-pogrom" policy.

66: Day 5 continued Blendow, Poland | Discovery site! | Discovering where Kalie and her mother's family is from! This is the first time anyone from their family has returned to Mogielnica.

67: The Whole Group!

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  • By: Em C.
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  • Title: Poland January 2011 / 5771
  • My five days in Poland. The focus of the trip was threefold: 1) the Jewish community pre-1940s, the Golden Age of Jewish Life in Europe 2) the Holocaust/Shoah 3) the current Jewish community in Poland
  • Tags: holocaust, jewish, poland, shoa
  • Published: over 5 years ago

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