Day 4 - Lehava - Tyla Aronson
Today the IST group woke up early and went straight to Belzec. We learned about the Belzec death camp and the reason behind its composition. The Camp had the names of Jews that were killed on its walls, allowing us to connect to the individuals that were so cruelly taken there. The concept of 6 million is hard to fathom, but when our tour guide told stories of the individuals using their names, it allowed us to really connect.
Our tour guide told us that during the gold rush, Polish people began digging up the area and found some of the bodies. This forced the Nazi's to take action, so they flew rocks in from Ukraine to cover the ground, thus preventing anymore digging. We then had time alone to walk around the camp. We were able to walk around its perimeter and see names of communities that perished in the Belzec death camp.
We then left Belzec, heading to a ticsh at the grave of the great Rabbi Elimelech of Lezajsk. The ticsh was beautiful and powerful. We sang many songs together, making us feel as if we were a whole Jewish community.
After praying Mincha, we got back on the bus and headed to our last stop - the Children's Forest. The forest was one filled with a heavy atmosphere. We were told about the 800 children under the age of 14 who had been so brutally killed here. We then said Kaddish for the loss of potential...800 young children who will never grow up to have children of their own. We then shouted at the top of our lungs “AM YISRAEL CHAI!” We shouted for all those who were never able to - showing we will love and be proud for what they died for. The day was an emotional roller coaster where we were able to learn so much about our Jewish identity and the importance of living and proud Jewish people.