April 19, 2024
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April 19, 2024
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MTA Seniors Explore the Holocaust on Extraordinary Poland Trip

A group of 15 MTA seniors, who are enrolled in the yeshiva’s “Name, Not Numbers” course, recently returned from a nine-day trip to Poland, led by the “Names, Not Numbers” organization, where they not only traced the roots of the Holocaust, but also experienced the re-birth of Judaism in Poland. Students in this class learn about the Holocaust first-hand through the making of their own professional oral history documentaries. Traveling to Poland and seeing the places they have heard about when interviewing survivors, brings these stories to life.

The trip began with visits to the Warsaw Cemetery, the Polin Museum and the Lauder Foundation’s Morasha School, Warsaw’s only Jewish day school.

“Visiting the Warsaw Cemetery enabled us to better appreciate the life that was once here,” said MTA student Akiva Cooper. “We visited the kevers of the Netziv and Rav Chaim Soloveitchik and also paid our respects at the tribute to Janus Korczac, a Jewish educator who chose to stay with the children of the orphanage he founded, ultimately perishing with them…We also learned…that the story of the Jews in Poland is far from over.”

The group also visited the Majdanek concentration camp. “Words can’t describe the feeling of entering a gas chamber willingly, feeling the faint scratches in the wall that we knew were left by our brothers and sisters who were slaughtered there systematically,” said MTA alumnus Yehoshua Szafranski, who accompanied students on the trip.

The trip also focused on the past and the present of Polish Jewry. In a unique opportunity, students visited a local JCC and met with the Chief Rabbi of Krakow Rabbi Avi Baumol, an MTA alummus, who is an active part of the revitalization of Jewish awareness in Poland.

The group had an emotional experience at Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Berkenau concentration camps. Said MTA senior Izzy Klavan,“Being able to stand on the Auschwitz train tracks and daven to Hashem without any fear, reminded me that despite so much tragedy and death, the Nazis failed and I am here to prove it.”

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