Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 8 - Prague to Olomouc



We ended our stay in Prague and enjoyed a restful and educational bus ride to Olomouc. After a two hour nap and a rest stop, Shalmi explained the Jewish celebration of Passover, since the Jewish community of Olomouc has invited us to their community seder this evening. Because there are only four Jewish students on this trip, many of us have never been to a Passover Seder.

After lunch in Olomouc, our Czech guide, Ilona, gave us a walking tour, the fifth largest in the Czech Republic.
video
We walked to the Jewish Community building, and were greeted by Petr Papousek, the head of the Jewish Community of Olomouc. He told us his life story, and how he grew up not even knowing he was Jewish until after the Velvet Revolution in 1988. His grandfather, Milos Dobry, first told Petr his stories of surviving the Holocaust, even though he had never told his children. Milos, who is 88 years old and frequently speaks to student groups, then told us his story of surviving both Theresienstadt and Auschwitz. It is thanks to Milos Dobry that the Jewish Community in Olomouc is thriving today, and it is also thanks to Milos that we know about the rescuers of the Wolf family in Trsice.

video


Following the inspirational testimony by Milos, we entered the dining hall of the Jewish Community and had a wonderful Seder experience.

12 comments:

  1. To those of you on the trip that are Jewish, Happy Passover. To those of you experiencing a Seder for the first time, mazel tov!!!

    It is also very amazing that you get to see beautiful Olomouc, and hear about the bravery of the local people there.

    Fondly,
    Celeste

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  2. I sit here this evening in awe of what you are all experiencing. To be able to meet survivors and survivors families the way you are doing is such an incredible learning experience. Shalom to all the Jewish people on this trip and thank you for allowing the non Jewish participants a chance to see what it means to share a seder with your friends. The pictures are truely awe inspiring. Each night as I sit and read the stories of the day I find myself holding back tears and wishing the whole world could see what you are all seeing. I wonder how different our world could be if everyone was able to take a step back and reprioritize there lives the way you are all doing now.

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  3. A special thank you to all of you from the Conner family for welcoming Steve into your group for a couple of days. Thank you Cherilyn for giving Steve all of our hugs and kisses. Also thanks to Mrs T, Sammy, Jordan Kasandra, June, and Mrs Bauman for hugging our Big boy. By the way Mrs T we got to talk to Steve on Sunday night and do our own debriefing with him concerning the trip. We were talking about the Jewish museum and the "Falling Leaves" exhibit and Steve told us he was not able to walk through it again and he could not even listen to the sounds. As he was speaking to us you could actually see his emotions change and you could feel how deeply it still affected him. Very powerful for us to watch it at home too, though Im sure no where near the first hand experience.
    On a side note a special thank you has to go out to you Mrs Bauman for bringing such a wonderful person on this trip 3 years ago. We had the privilege of having Laura Kelly stay with us for 3 days this winter before they both went back to school. What a great young lady she is and a great friend to Steve as well. We look forward to spending more time with her soon.

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  4. Today in class we watched part of the video on Auschwitz. I don't know if I could ever even imagine being there. Just the thought of it gives me the chills.
    That's amazing that Petr Papousek didn't even know that he was Jewish, I wonder if there were others who weren't even aware that they were Jewish.
    You guys seem like you're having a great time!
    Stay safe,
    Susannah

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  5. Like Susannah said, I can't even imagine what it was like for the men and women who were taken away to concentration and killing camps for being Jewish when they didn't even know they were Jewish. In class today, after finishing "Schindler's List", we began to watch a video of how the Auschwitz camp was developed. The time and effort it took to create a place where they could exterminate thousands of Jews is unreal. It really put it into perspective. I'm sure it's awesome to hear from different survivors because I'm sure all their stories are different. I hope you have an amazing rest of the trip!
    Natalie

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  6. When seeing the picture of Petr, it is hard to believe he is a survivor of a concentration camp. He looks like a normal old man. Seeing him makes me think of the pictures of the people who were survivors of the Holocaust. It’s amazing that a person that was just skin and bones would turn out to be a regular person.

    I remember the class discussing Auschwitz concentration camp. Petr was in Auschwitz and another camp called Theresienstadt. I did a little research on that camp. I found out that there were 144,000 Jews sent there. The Nazis also had a children’s home there. The children’s home had 15,000 children living there and only 93 survived. Petr was around 23 years old when he was there so he wasn’t a child but it shows what a terrible place it was.

    -Dashawn Harden

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  7. Another beautiful, informative, and touching experience for all.
    Embrace each moment, and never forget.

    Thanks again,
    Delia

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  8. It is wonderful that Jewish culture has been so strongly preserved in the Czech Republic. Though the Jews have been suppressed by both Nazism and Communism, their faith has survived. This can be seen in their Jewish Community Center and their Passover rituals. In Schindler's list, Oskar Schindler allowed his Jews to preserve their culture by encouraging them to practice the Sabbath.

    -Molly Porter

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  9. What another great day. The stories are very touching and the pictures are beautiful. Hard to imagine that such horrific occurences happened there. Happy Passover to all. Keep learning and taking those pictures.!!!!

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  10. I find it so amazing that people that are not Jewish are able to celebrate Pesach and experience traditions such as these. For all the Jewish children on the trip , you are so blessed so celebrate such a sacred holiday on a trip such as this. I hope everyone at the Seder enjoyed their self and enjoyed their matzah ball soup and kugel! I wish i could have joined

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