Report >from Poland:
Day five was a challenging yet meaningful day.
The JewishGen Fellows left Krakow early in the morning, to visit the
the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Pawel Sawicki led an
extremely emotional and informative tour, emphasizing the "psychology
of hope" employed by the Nazis, along with the dehumanization of the
inmates in the camps.
We then visited the Auschwitz Jewish Center, where the Fellows ate
lunch (thank you Tomek Kuncewicz for letting us utilize space in the
cafe), and toured the Oswiecim Synagogue and AJC Museum. >from there,
the Fellows took a two-hour bus ride to Krzepice.
After checking in to their hotel, a delicious dinner was served, and
Steven Reece led a reflection exercise about our collective experience
visiting Auschwitz, before giving an orientation about the importance
of the cemetery work the Fellows are about to engage in.
Beginning today, the JewishGen Fellows will spend each day through
Wednesday evening cleaning up the Krzeipce cemetery, which dates back
to 1749. The last known burial took place in 1946. There are believed
to be 650 Matzevot (tombstones), some of which are made out of
On Monday and Tuesday, the JewishGen Fellows and The Matzevah
Foundation, Inc. will be joined by students >from the local non-Jewish
high school, who will come to help with the clean-up process.
Later this afternoon/evening, the JewishGen Fellows will also hear
from a representative of the Chief Rabbi of Poland with specificregard to Halachik considerations and perspectives on maintaining
Jewish cemeteries, followed by a reflection exercise, and a session
from Dr. Dan Oren, who will discuss how to decipher Matzevot(tombstones).
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