Day 4: Belzec, Lejzsank, Tarnow Forest - Novmeber 17

Belzec, an extermination camp, a grave to over 500,000 Jews, an unknown quantity in a way, 9 months it lasted, just a mere 9 months. No burning of the bodies just mass graves, nothing. No dignity in death, no tombstone, nothing. Town after town was brought to Belzec, with death being the inevitable fate for these people.  A single survivor remained from Belzec, 1 person. No one knows the horrors, due to the lack of survivors. No one knows what happened there. Only one witness to retell the events that transpired. 500,000 deaths = 55,555 a month. It was the deadliest of the deadly, hardly anyone came out alive. Emotions were mingled between anger, sadness and confusion. Anger at the Nazis and Polish people, upset for the lives that never were, and confusion with the lack of understanding to the events that occurred. The fact that it is so unknown left me with a sense of sadness. How is it that no one knows what happened to these people? How is that? Everyone deserves a tombstone in death, not to be buried in a mass pit. How could this be? There identities were taken away, their names not given recognition, and no closure for the survivors.

Rabbi Elimelech, a pioneer of Jewish life, more than just a Rabbi, a father to the community. A man who impacted the way we lived. A genius, who invested his time into study, and devoted it to Torah life.  At his Ohel, where he is buried, a place where we sang tehillim and prayed for the Israeli soldiers, for hope, for prosperity, for health and for happiness.

Tarnow, a Centre of Jewish life, a place where 7,000 innocent Jews were removed from there homes and killed in mass graves. These Jews were taken from their homes; and taken into the forest. Shot dead, 7,000 people’s lives. Their hopes, their dreams, their goals, their personal stories removed just like that. Not given recognition in death, not given a name, just another number they became. But they were more than another number. That’s what the holocaust did to people, it took away their identities, they became just another number. 6,000,000 comes off the tongue naturally, but if you seriously imagine that many people, it’s daunting. All these people had hopes and ambitions, but know they are gone. But we defied the odds, we are here, we defeated the nazis, and we stood there, In memory of these people. The best way for revenge is to be Jewish, be proud to be Jewish.

A long day, a hard day, but who are we to say what is hard?


Day 3: Majdanek - November 16

Auschwitz - November 20