To view tour photos from the Warsaw Ghetto, click here
We stayed the night at not only a beautiful hotel, but a site of great significance in the history of Polish Jewry: the famous Yeshivat Chachmei Lublin. Under the tutelage of the great Rabbi Meir Shapiro, the illustrious rabbinic academy only accepted the brightest and most gifted Torah scholars while it was in existence from 19?? until it was sacked by the Nazis in 1939.
The day started with a sobering visit to the Majdanek Concentration Camp, built just meters away from the Lublin city limits. The evil perpetrated at Majdenek is still tangible as we walked through not only barracks full of old shoes taken from Jewish prisoners, but gas chambers, ovens and crematoria where the remains of Jewish victims were burned and turned to ash.
Our visit to the Old City of Tarnow took us back decades as we walked through the quaint European alleyways and courtyards in a town that was 50% Jewish when WWII started.
The only remaining evidence of the 25,000 Jews of Tarnow are the central pillars of the massive ‘Bimah’ which was once the point of the grand Great Synagogue of Tarnow.
The most depressing visit of the day was to the site of the mass grave deep in the Tarnow forest where Nazi soldiers brutally murdered more than 800 Jewish children. In a touching tribute, cards drawn by Israeli school children were placed on the fence surrounding the children’s grave as if to say to the souls of all the 1.5 million Jewish children killed in the Holocaust, “we will never forget you.”
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