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May 1, 2019 - Auschwitz and the Killing Wall

So the journey begins. Our first stop this morning was Radagast. This was a "gathering place", a place where Jews from the nearby countryside were brought in preparation to transport them by cattle car to the death camps. There's a cattle car at the depot, an original that actually was used by the Nazis. Last year our delegation was crowded into the cattle car. I waited outside on the platform. I couldn't get myself to go in. This time I went in. It was suffocating and frightening. Even though I knew that in a few moments I'd be safely back...

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Jul 2, 2015 - Auschwitz

Of course I have heard many times about the Holocaust. Auschwitz and Birkenau, which are located in Poland are the most well known. One and a half million mainly Jews, but also Poles, homosexuals, gypsies, disabled and resistance members lost their lives here. The efficiency was stunning. 400,000 Hungarian Jews were exterminated in two months. That is 7000 a day. It was liberated by the Russians in January 1945. It is very difficult to comprehend the scale. Most people were immediately sent to the gas chambers, but there was a labour camp...

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Apr 18, 2015 - Great day

Day 7, 18 April 2015, Poland As we come to the end of the week... We were all in need of day to wind down. As a whole, this week was very overwhelming. All of the intense sightseeing and touring has really taken a toll on all of us. So, today we had that day to wind down like we were all looking for. We toured the Jewish Quarters in Poland. It was truly a wonderful day and to add on to it, it was Shabbat. Because it was Shabbat we walked everywhere instead of riding our coach bus like we have been for the entire week. First we had an...

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Apr 18, 2015 - The Main Event

I have attended many Jewish programs throughout my life, but never before has one made me feel closer to judaism. With the Israeli flag around my back, and linked arms with Rabbi Benny and the rest of the group, there was no feeling like it while on the March. You weren't afraid to grab the persons arm next to you in silence. By the end of the ceremony, being with so many other people singing songs I have sung my whole along with my whole life and the Kaddish and the flag around my back, I was so overwhelmed I just began bawling. Everyone...

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Apr 17, 2015 - MOTL part 2

Today was our visit to Auschwitz to Birkenau. We had visited both camps the previous day but today we got to really experience the camps. When we first walked into the exhibits, i was truly moved because in the previous camps, we had only seen remnants of what was left from the Jewish people. In the exhibits, I started to feel personal connections with the belongings that were taken away by Nazis. I could see the absolutely cruelty that the Nazis had against the Jews from taking shoes right of their feet to shaving all the hair off the...

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Oct 21, 2013 - Chesty Krumlov

It seems that Roly the bus driver hasn't done this journey before and Rita is meant to be the navigator. She's not very good at it. Heaps and heaps of time has seen us do a three point turn in the middle of an intersection, reverse up a highway, go around a roundabout a couple of times etc. He had a curious driving style. It is very fast, stop very quickly and turn abruptly left or right. Including prevaricating about which you are going to do. It's has included all of the styles together in curious combinations. We have almost been fish...

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Oct 19, 2013 - The conference of killers and the final solution.

It was almost an all day drive to get to krakow via Auschwitz.. The fog was very thick, and the day looked dismal. We had several stops throughout the day to meet the regulations. The first place we stopped was like a miniature village with buildings made of huge lumps of wood and thatched roofs. There was a huge building that was sort of a restaurant, sort of a roadside stop for truckers and buses I assume, part motel. We stopped at 9.30 and everyone went silly eating more as if they hadn't had brekky 2 hours earlier. We kind of wandered...

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Dec 12, 2011 - A sobering day at Auschwitz

Today would be a long day. We were up and out the door by 8 AM, and driving toward Auschwitz (the German name)/Oswiecim (the Polish name). It is about a 90 minute drive, and we wanted to be at the Auschwitz museum by 10 to catch the first English-language tour. We made it with time to spare, and began the tour by watching a 17-minute film produced from Ukrainian news footage that was shot when Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviet army in January 1945. After that we got our audio guide and headset and waited for our tour to begin. Silvia...

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Apr 11, 2011 - Auschwitz

After breakfast we load up by mini bus and head across the border in Poland heading toward Krakow, a stop for some lunch then a guided tour of Auschwitz Concentration Camp. This camp was opened in 1940 and was later expanded into 3 camps. During the time it was in operation it is estimated at least 1,100,000 Jews, 150,000 Poles, and some 23,000 Roma people were sent to the camp with most of them perished there. Was a very sobering experience walking though it. Then it was on to Krakow where send the night.

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Apr 22, 2010 - Day 12 - final day in Krakow

Almost half way through and I think we’re starting to get a little tired – not of each other… just the moving every few days and walking god knows how many k’s a day is starting to catch up with us. So a lazy day in Krakow was needed. Unfortunately not the best day to be walking around with an Arctic wind cold snap coming through with a vengeance resulting in icy winds, a grumbly Amanda and even snow! But we made the best of it and headed off to the Jewish quarter in the morning. This area definitely had a different feel about it… with the...

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Apr 21, 2010 - Day 11 - Auschwitz

Today, even after waking up a little worse for wear from the night before we caught the bus out to Auschwitz. Over an hour later we arrived at the most well-known German concentration camps from WW2. After walking through the infamous gate stating ‘arbeit macht frei’ (work makes you free), the misty and rainy weather set the scene for what would be a sombre day of seeing footage and photos of what it was like for those housed here and being able to walk through their living quarters and even see the torture chambers and incinerators where...

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Aug 13, 2009 - Auschwitz, Poland

After arriving in Krakow, Poland on the luxurious and expensive 6 hour train I met up the following morning bright and early with Nic and Sean in the main square and caught a bus out to Auschwitz; a place which is seared into public consciousness as the location of history’s most extensive experiment in genocide. Established within disused army barracks in 1940, Auschwitz was initially designed to hold Polish prisoners, but was expanded into the largest centre for the extermination of European Jews. Another nearby camp was subsequently...

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