WPS Visit to Auschtwitz

Linda Plasco writes:

Forty five members of Woodside Park Synagogue set off recently to begin an incredibly moving and thought provoking trip to Krakow and Auschwitz. The group, including Rabbi Hachenbroch, was led and inspired by Rabbi Aubrey Hirsch.We arrived at Krakow after having watched edited extracts from Schindler's List on the coach, as a scene setter for what was to follow. We learnt about the six hundred year history of the Jewish community in Krakow and visited the partially restored Jewish cemetery where many remarkable Rabbonim were buried. We visited some beautiful and ancient synagogues and ended the day with a visit to what remains of Plaszow concentration camp including standing on the balcony where Commandant Goth had stood to take pot shots at the inmates of the camp, a deeply chilling experience.Monday was divided between Auschwitz 1 which is now a museum and Birkenau (or Auschwitz2) the main death camp. Despite the fact that most of the participants had been to one of many holocaust museums nothing prepares you for the reality of actually standing on the railway tracks and looking at the bleak lines of huts stretching as far as the eye could see and realising the true enormity of the crimes that took place there.We lit candles at the site of one of the now destroyed crematoria and said memorial prayers for the more than a million lives obliterated there. Each of the 40 candles we lit represented 25,000 lost souls. Finally and without doubt the most moving experience for all of us was singing the Hatikvah in one of the bleakest parts of the camp, the latrines. A place of some small hope as the only place inmates from different parts of the camp were able to meet without guards as they were too scared of contracting dysentery or other diseases to enter there.The group felt the trip was amazing, horrific and yet life affirming. The groups presence there was proof that despite everything the Jewish community lives on.2015

Aushwitz I

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Aushwitz/Birkenau II

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Krakow

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Oswiecim

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