This year the Poland trip took in the cities of Warsaw, Lublin and Krakow. During the trip the group saw the sites of the former ghettos in Warsaw, Tarnow and Krakow and visited the extermination camps Majdenek and Auschwitz- Birkenau as well as the labour camp of Plascow. The group of 48 Year 12 students learnt about the Jewish community in Poland before, during and since the Holocaust and visited sites that show the work of some Poles to reinvigorate Jewish life in Poland.
Year 12 student, Molly Leizer comments:
“My experience in Poland has taught me a lot. It’s encouraged me to appreciate life more and not to just expect things that I take for granted. I am freely able to give and take, but Jewish people (as well as gypsies, homosexuals, political prisoners, disabled people… the list goes on), were unable to live their lives due to the other disgusting, irrational Anti-Semitic ideology. This infuriates me as I feel that it shows how equality isn’t noted enough. People were starved, and suffocated, leading to the deaths of 6 million Jews and 4 million others. These were normal people who had close friends and family that were taken away from them, making them unable to be with their loved ones, not knowing what happened to them when they got separated.
Visiting a death camp was one of the most unreal experiences. I can’t put reality into words, but at the same time it made me think about how important it is that the last remaining holocaust survivors are nearly gone. The fact that we have the opportunity to walk in and walk out but they didn’t have that chance makes me think about how lucky I am.
Visiting a range of concentration camps captured my deepest emotions and really put my perspective of life in place. All my life I grown up with high expectations and anticipation of a wonderful future, but witnessing the reality of The Holocaust has changed me as a person and made me feel like I need to be more responsible and aware of things that happen around the world and the people that are less fortunate than me, who don’t have the same opportunities that I am lucky to have.
I’m still left confused and shocked as to why or how people have the ability to do what they did.”