Saturday, July 17, 2010
July 18 AM
It is another warm morning, 6 AM here, the sun has been up for several hours, I hear birds chirping and the bells of a church ringing- it is quiet.
Today will probably be even more difficult than before- as impossible as that may sound- we will be driving to Belzec the killing center that the Jews from this town and the surrounding towns met their fate. We have been discussing how people survived and many feel it was simple geography- ' the right place at the the right time.' Luck had a lot to do with it as well. Someone's decision to stay, go, hide- it all came down to luck.Escape?? there was a moral dilemma here- if you did your entire family would be killed or those around you in the camp would all be shot, so does one decide to try to escape knowing others will die because of you? In many cases such as in this town of Zamosc, Jews were caught between a rock and a hard place not knowing where to go or what to do. As I keep learning over and over again- there are no simple answers to complicated questions.
Elaine lost her grandparents at Belzec so today will be especially difficult for her. We, as a group will support her every moment we are there. This group of 25 strangers have become a family.We have one African American with us that made a promised visit to the Berlin stadium to see where Jesse Owens defied the Nazi ideology,he brings his own dimension to this journey. There are only four, of Jewish background,and others from several different religious backgrounds.One gentleman, Sid, choose Judaism- and it was a poignant moment watching him pray but the ashes of the dead, yesterday at Majdenek. Many of the group helped our Louisiana teacher skype with her students last night. One teacher came from a trip in Costa Rica directly to this. We check in on each other, laugh with each other, cry with each other.
On a lighter note- they love LOX in Poland! Every meal lox is served in one form or another. Being near the Baltic Sea Salmon and Herring are plentiful- so I am happy but many people who would never eat lox or herring are losing weight while I.....
There was only one thing so far I really did not like, it was a dessert that the top of the cake tasted like flowers. I was not a fan. Each hotel has been unique. It is the luck of the draw if you get a better room. Linda and I feel our room in Jerusalem was the best, although the shower in this room is so forceful, I love it. It is only a shower stall with a sliding enclosure door, but it is really strong.
No air conditioning since we left Israel. I hear the next hotel in Krakow is wonderful so I will write about it when I am there tonight.
I am so humbled to be around so many educated people, all who have added a dimension of their own to the trip. I have learned so much my head is spinning. The knowledge in the heads of this collective group is truly amazing.