October 28, 2016, 19:45 Warsaw time; 7:45 PM NY time.
I did not write yesterday. It was a long and emotional day so the blogging just didn’t get done.
Our main goal for yesterday was to visit the area that was Warsaw’s Jewish ghetto from 1940-1943 and the museums and memorials akin to it. I am sure you must remember what happened there during that time. If not, you ought to. Look it up. We all need to know about those times.
We spent 8 hours yesterday walking to and through the area, visiting various sites, and going through the Polin museum. That museum, just opened in 2014, is dedicated to telling the history of Poland’s Jewish population and is built within the area of the former ghetto.
The following pictures include a monument depicting the heroes of the April 19, 1943 ghetto uprising. You’ll also see a large mound with another small monument on it. That is what is left of the bunker in which those heroes held their last stand. They killed themselves rather than allow the Nazis to capture them alive. Their bodies remain entombed in the bunker, now a grassy hill and a place of pilgrimage.
There are pictures too of remnants of the wall. One section, in the back of a modern day parking lot, is not so much preserved as left untouched. A few stubborn strands of barbed wire are still atop it.
There is another picture of a monument at the Umshlagplatz–the transfer place–where people were loaded onto trains and sent to the death camps in the east. The monument is shaped like a cattle car, and names are engraved on the inside.
I don’t have much commentary other than the above. I find whenever I visit such places, words just don’t come. Later in the trip there will be even more difficult places we will visit. But they are places I feel the generations must visit, both to honor those lost and to remind us what we are capable of.
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