Berlin to Auschwitz

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Berlin, Germany Warsaw, Poland “OUR DEAD NEW BORN BABY | DEATH”   This rock was found at the Okopowa Street Jewish Cemetary in Warsaw, Poland. The cemetery was founded in 1806 and, after being destroyed during the German invasion of Poland, remains very overgrown and dilapidated only recently being restored for use by the small population of Jews remaining in Warsaw. Specifically, the stone was one of many rocks placed near a grave as a sign of respect and morning, as is custom in Jewish culture. The rock was laid at a symbolic grave founded and sponsored by Jack Fisner, a survivor of the Holocaust who lost all of his immediate and distant family, with the exception of his mother Zlatka, in the tragedy. Fisner sponsored the grave “In memory of one million Jewish children murdered by Nazi German barbarians, 1939-1945.”      Despite the fact that this stone was merely one of...

Beatrice Becker

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Romania: An Anti – Semitic History  Dating all the way back to the 16th century, Jews were persecuted in this Christian orthodox state. They were viewed as foreigners; prohibited from the privileges and rights of true citizens. As seen as a trend with anti-Semitism across Europe, they were often used as the scapegoat, and had to suffer the consequences for a wrongdoing they did not commit. For instance, in the after math of WWI Romania received a multitude of valuable territory, nearly doubling the size of the country. However, in 1940 Romania lost 30 percent of this territory to the Soviet Union, Hungary, and Bulgaria. Jews were associated with Soviet communism and accused of siding with the enemy over this territorial struggle. This accusation, however wrong as it was, served as validation that the Jews were the most prevalent threat to Romanianism. Romanianism was the desire to...

Wagner EYH – Germany & Poland

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Before the EYH trip this semester, I had never been to Germany or Poland. I had never been to Europe. I had never even had a passport. I could not fathom how visiting a totally new place with so much more history than the US would change my perception of the world. I gained so much knowledge not just regarding the victims and perpetrators of Holocaust atrocities, but also of different people and cultural practices. Now that I have Holocaust education from my experience in the locations themselves, I cannot imagine any history course that does not include a real visit to the places described in course material. Visiting Berlin gave us the opportunity to visit the Topography of Terror museum, which was extremely interesting and where I learned so much about the perpetrators of Jewish extermination; learning what I did in the museum would be impossible without this trip. Reading about a...

Confronting Nazi Past

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  Introduction: When I heard about the opportunity to spend spring break in Germany and Poland, learning about the Holocaust first-hand, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. To be completely honest, I would have never imagined myself going to Germany and Poland, always telling myself and family members that those two places are the last places I would want to go to in Europe; and here I am, first place traveling to in Europe, Germany and Poland. I was anxious, excited, nervous, hesitant, confused; a wave of emotions came over me before boarding the plane. I had no idea what to expect. This was the place where my family was killed, this was the place where the Nazi regime resided, and this is the place where the idea of a mass slaughter of Jews was carried out. When I would tell family members or friends that I was going to Germany and Poland, I got the same reaction, “why would you...

2015 Eyh Trip: From Berlin to Auschwitz

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Introduction          From a very young age, I have heard stories from my paternal Grandparents about what it was like to grow up as Jewish people in Nazi-Germany during the 1930’s. Luckily they were able to get out of Germany before the Holocaust officially started. As lucky as they were, many people were not as lucky including members of their own families. Since then, I’ve always had a huge interest in the Holocaust. When I heard last Spring about the possibility of being able to visit these sites, I jumped right at the idea. I wanted to retrace my roots and see what the people went through first hand. As it got closer, I started to emotionally prepare myself for what I would see, not only at Auschwitz but in Historic Berlin, as well as Warsaw and Krakow. I was truly moved by seeing all these places but especially visiting the Monument to the Murdered Jews of Europe in...

“For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.” – Elie Wiesel

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