When 17-year-old Tania Lobetta visited Poland on a school trip with JFS last month, she was so moved by her experience that she wrote a poem about it:
I wrote this poem, to let people know
About my Poland experience, a few weeks ago.
I went with JFS, the journey was shared,
With my peers and teachers, all of whom cared.
I went on the trip, eager to learn,
My mind full of excitement, interest and concern.
We started by the ghetto, and stood by the wall,
The space the Jews lived in was confined and small.
Our day was not finished, and off to Treblinka we went,
A concentration camp, where many Jews were sent.
At this location, 900,000 people died,
My emotions bottled up, and I eventually cried.
I felt so grateful that I could come and leave,
Whilst the Jews at that time could only believe.
Then we went to Majdanek, a camp where Jews ached,
In the winters they froze whilst in the summers they baked.
This was when I was truly placed in shock,
The dire things that occurred I just struggled to clock.
Fingers were chopped here and clothes were removed,
And the vile conditions never ceased to improve.
We entered gas chambers, and saw piles of ash,
But the individual stories were what made my heart crash.
On Thursday we went to Auschwitz, a place we all knew,
We’d seen pictures prior, from books we’d looked through.
Whilst the large book of names allowed many to connect,
The sheer piles of shoes were what helped to reflect.
We travelled on to Birkenau, the largest camp in length,
Being able to sport the Israeli flag, gave me incredible strength.
We joined forces with the Israeli army and sung the Hatikvah loud,
The tears on our faces, and the irony of the location made me extremely proud.
We went to Tarnow on Friday, although we weren’t there for long,
Before the war Jews lived there, and were 25,000 strong.
As the Germans burnt down the synagogues, and started to discriminate,
Jews left Tarnow and fled to the East, as their safety they began to debate.
On Saturday morning we heard, from a Righteous Among the Nations,
She saved Jews during the Holocaust, despite the many complications,
She risked her life for others, her testimony she shared,
She was daring, self-sacrificing and truly amazing, for her life she nearly impaired.
We walked through Kraków ghetto, and we saw Schindler’s factory at night
He let Jews work for him, and kept them out of the Nazi’s sight
On our very last day we got on the coach, and travelled to the city of Lódź,
We went to the ghetto, the 2nd largest in Poland, where Jews could just not dodge.
We went to Chelmno a concentration camp, to finish off our stay,
We found the bones of our ancestors, and a funeral we did display.
Now that we’re home, we’ve remembered what we’ve seen,
The emotions we’ve felt, and the places we have been.
70 years have now passed, since Auschwitz got liberated,
But unfortunately there are few survivors, as most victims became cremated.
We must build our future, by remembering the past,
By teaching future generations, these recollections will last.
The remnants of the camps, and survivors that we met,
Taught us to remember, and to NEVER FORGET