Monday, March 8, 2010

Welcome to the Holocaust Study Tour 2010 Blog!


  1. I wish you all a safe and memorable journey. It promises to change your life.

  2. I just wanted the group to know that I am curious about how your trip is going, what you have found that especially moved you, and to let you know that I am thinking of you as you see firsthand some of the horrors of the Holocaust.
    I applaud you for your courage to examine this dreadful episode and for your commitment to make a difference in the world by your educating others about the Holocaust and by speaking out against genocide wherever it still exists.

  3. Tuesday, April 6

    After our 8 to 10 hour flights, we spent our first day with our guide, Olaf, touring the city of Berlin.

    As we stood in front of the Reichstag building, our Israeli guide, Shalmi Barmore, talked to us about the paradox of Berlin, a city with a rich tradition of literature, music, art, and architecture. A city where the history of the Holocaust is rooted.

    We walked from there to the Brandenburg gate, and the short distance to the Holocaust Memorial, right here in the center of the city. Students walked through the huge blocks and toured the underground museum, located in the heart of the Nazi regime, where Hitler is said to have taken his life.

    From there we toured the New Synagogue of Berlin, built in the late 19th century in the style of a grand European cathedral. The gold dome has been restored, and the bombed building is now a museum dedicated to telling the story of the Jews of Berlin and their lives before the Holocaust.

    After writing in their journals, after being awake 36 hours, students shared their reactions with each other. As we continue our journey, we will be posting student reactions and updating our followers on our incredible journey.

    We are off this morning to the Wannsee House, the Bavarian Quarter, Grunewald and several other memorials in Berlin.

  4. Sounds like a productive and eye-opening first day. Looking forward to hearing from the kids!

  5. April 7, 2010

    Our morning began with Shalmi Barmore explaining about the concept of identity and personal narratives. How people describe themselves tells a lot about how they view not only themselves, but also their view of history. Cities, like Berlin, a city that lives with its history,also grapples with their ghosts.

    Travelling to the Wannsee
    Villa on this gorgeous sunny morning, Olaf talked about the city of West Berlin and the beautiful area of homes near Wannsee lake. The meeting at Wannsee, which occurred January 20, 1942, consisted of Nazi bureaucrats who had been given the task of figuring out how to carry out the Final Solution. Again the paradox presents itself: In this beautiful setting, with a sunny lake just outside the floor to ceiling windows, top bureaucrats of the German government looked at Eichmann's typed list of the number of Jews in countries already occupied by Germany, and the countries that Germany planned to concur. These bureaucrats figured out the practical side of how to carry out the plan concocted by the Nazi officials.

    From Wannsee, we travelled to the Grunewald train station, in a beautiful section of Berlin where big, gorgeous houses look out over the tracks where trains deported thousands of Berlin's Jews. We walked along this memorial that lists the day, month and year as well as the ghetto or camp where the Jews were deported, in plain sight from the windows of the beautiful houses near the tracks.

    From there, we went to the Bavarian quarter of Berlin, a neighborhood where many Jews lived before the Nazi deportations began. Throughout the streets of this neighborhood, signs are posted which depict images and anti-Jewish legislation which show how the rights of Jews were gradually taken away. Along one street, an artist's mural depicts life in the Bavarian quarter during the late 19th century. Here we discussed the artist's interpretation of a man who is Jewish, and whether our interpretations of the picture is colored by our knowledge of anti-Jewish propaganda, or if the picture truly reflects the artist's sentiments.

  6. Not only do you have my deepest thanks for going, but also for sending us this blog. You see my mother, lost her entire family in the Holocaust in Belarus and we have no way to find out where or when they were annihilated.
    Sad to say Genocide doesn't end. So that you must now fight to see that "Never Again" is a reality.
    Florette Lynn

  7. Simon Wiesenthal said, "For your benefit, learn from our tragedy. It is not a written law that the next victims must be Jews. It can also be other people." Learning this makes "never again" a possibility.

  8. Dear Group,

    As this week is Days of Remembrance in the US, it's really poignant that you are there and especially at such a mournful time for Poland. I am sure this gives the study tour even more meaning than you ever imagined. Your presence at this sad time must be a comfort to the people you meet.

    Not only are you learning this history through historic sites, but the people you are meeting and connecting with, and the evidence you are gathering are creating an impact far beyond anything you might study in a traditional classroom setting. I applaud you for the work you do, for the care you give to this, and to your leaders. I'll be thinking of the Holocaust Study Tour tomorrow, when I am in the US Capitol Rotunda, listening to General Petraeus.

    Christina Chavarria