As we got off the plane in Warsaw early this morning, we were unsure what to expect this country that is a rich part of our history to be like. We’re all so used to seeing footage from the Holocaust in black and white that we were surprised when we started driving to see the normal fall foliage that most of us have at home around this time of year.
The first stop of the day was the Rappaport Monument. This monument represented both the depths of the despair our people went through as well as the strength they were able to uphold throughout it all. We then entered the Museum of the History of Polish Jews and I gained a deeper level of understanding of how the war impacted the Jewish community by learning about the pre-war life in Poland.
Afterwards, we made our way to the Warsaw Jewish Cemetery where we got to learn about different people who were buried there, including the Netziv, Rav Chaim Soloveitchik, and one of our classmate’s relatives. At the cemetery we also got to see the entrance to a bunker where Jews who were living in the Warsaw Ghetto hid to escape being taken to the transports. We finished off our day by going to Heroism St and learning about different heroes from the time.
As we walked back to the bus we stopped at a monument which represented those who were apart of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and sang “Am Yisrael Chai” in spirit of the attitude of those men and women who wouldn’t go down without one last fight.
Today was an informative and meaningful day that put us in the correct mindset to start our journey in Poland together.