Day 3 - Lublin & Majdanek
After two incredibly eye opening days exploring Warsaw, the town of
Tikochin and the Lupochova forest, we were warned that the day ahead would be difficult for us all.
As we arrived at the Lublin yeshiva to daven Shacharit we heard the shule filled with song. We unexpectedly came across a group of Israeli boys who filled up the shule with spirit and song. As the boys joined in, and the girls observed from above it was noticed that they were circling an old man. As he danced elevated on the bimah in the centre he lifted up his shirt sleeve which revealed a number, he was a holocaust survivor. This moment truly warmed my heart and made me feel a close connection to my Judaism. I was proud to be Jewish. Over 300 Jewish people singing 'Am Yisrael chai' in a yeshiva is true revenge against Hitler and the Nazis.
Not knowing what to expect we hopped back onto the bus to observe the horrors that took place in the concentration camp of Majdanek. The overwhelming experience began by entering into what used to be the gas chamber. Rabbi Benji explained the sad reality of people singing Ani Ma'amin, 'they started loud and slowly faded away, whereas today we will begin quietly and get stronger, giving a voice to the voiceless and bringing back life in this place of death.' And that is what we did. Thankfully we had the privilege to walk out, that many never had. After some time of reflecting we began to walk around the camp. Facing the horrible extremities of the living conditions and piles of shoes of Jewish victims, I felt an immense amount of shock and even struggled to talk. We carried on walking through the barracks until we reached the crematorium which was even more devastating to see the ways in which Jewish bodies and humans were tortured.
Once this heart wrenching experience was over we drove to Krasnik, a destroyed, underground shule. We began singing in unison 'Aveinu malkanu' which led to other songs, juxtaposing the hardships of the Jewish people to the most incredible sense of belonging.
The day was definitely emotionally draining. It is still hard for me to fathom and comprehend the monstrosities of the Majdonek concentration camp. However I will forever be grateful for the amazing memories I have created bringing life into places of death.