Jewish Heritage Europe

Six ghettos, five museums, and four concentration camps in three weeks; or how I spent my summer vacation

1 comment on “Six ghettos, five museums, and four concentration camps in three weeks; or how I spent my summer vacation

  1. Last summer, in 2018, I took my younger son to the IAJGS conference in Warsaw, where some of my mother’s distant family members had been killed, and in 2 weeks we visited Auschwitz-Birkenau (having the same feelings as Ms. Adelman), Wyszkow to see the cemetery memorial created through efforts of surviving Canadian and American family members which included a fragment of my great grandfather’s matzevah, Bialystok where another great grandfather had come from and ran into a cemetery restoration effort by Americans, Vilna where family had (and had not) survived the liquidation, Vilkija where family houses remain intact and lived in by local townspeople, Minsk, and finally Koidanovo, where my paternal grandfather and his brothers had fled in the late 1800’s. Touring these sites, seeing how beautiful and green the lakes and forests were with their storks (Lithuania), hearing and seeing place after place described as having had a majority of Jews many of whom were killed at a mass grave site in their own home towns by their neighbors and not Nazis and memorialized by an unremarkable monument, reinforced what the extraordinary POLIN Museum, the History of the Polish Jews in Warsaw detailed so thoroughly: we were welcomed for our expertise and our money, then we were expelled and/or murdered. What a family vacation, but one that should be taken by all.

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