Friday, July 15, 2016

Some of the differences in Poland vs USA

Poland is predominately Catholic. I saw one African American, 0 muslims, 0 Chaldeans, and a small amount of Jews. 

There are tons of beautiful churches and only a handful of synagogues.  

There are not many expressways. Therefore what should taken 2-21/2 hours to travel can take 5 plus hours.

Water must be purchased at a restaurant. When i bought 2 large bottles of water i spent 39 zlotes which is equivalent to approximately $9.00 It is cheaper to buy wine and beer. Maybe that is why Fetal Alcohol syndrome is  so prevalent in Poland. 

I feel lucky to be living in the usa!! 

July 15, 2016

And so her dreams of going to Zakopane high up in the Tatra mountains came to fruition! 
When we arrived we saw beautiful challets nestled into the mountains. There was a bustling down town filled with ski shops, clothing stores, restaurants, and tons of people.
We bought cheese from the young polish girls outside. It was a smoked cheese made from goat's milk. It looked like loaves of bread and corn on the cob. 
Next we mingled with a polish woman selling her goods. 
We went on a ski lift high up in the moutains. What a spectaculor view. My mom decided to sit this one out. 
Next the driver took us to a lovely chapel and to a near by town with all homes made up of log cabins. 
He took us through another country, Slovakia which looked like Poland. 
So after seeing this beautiful town of Zakopane it is hard to believe there is such wealth there while some of the other cities have such poverty. Also, it was not destroyed in WW2 while Warsaw was brought down to rubbles. What a hidden treasure! 
And now our journey is coming to an end. We made the long drive back to Warsaw and we are flying home tomorrow. 
As i reflect on the past 10 days of this journey i felt such mixed emotions. I got a totally different perspective of all the lessons i read about and heard by experiencing it first hand and through my mother's eyes. It still boggles my mind how such atrocities happened to innocent, loving people. I hope it brought some closure to my mother! I along with Jeff, Mark and Anne felt so blessed to have had this opportunity to come to Poland! My mom is thrilled that many different nationalities come here to get educated about the atrocities that occured so history will not repeat itself.   









Thursday, July 14, 2016

Spiritual post

I have always been fascinated with mediums and people like Rebecca Rosen. While I have been in Poland I have been asking for some confirmation that my grandparents, uncles and dad know we are here and feel our presence. 

Each day something has happened. 
It started when i opened my suit case to pack for the trip and found a dime in the luggage, which signifies a grandparent is watching over me. 

When in Warsaw's Ghetto a feather fell on my shoe and each day i have found feathers on the ground. 
Another day i found 2 feathers on the seat in our van. Anne said Aunt Felicia and Uncle Roman are sitting with us in the van, so i better not sit on them! 

When i woke up in the morning there was a feather on my luggage. I asked Jeff if he put it there and he said no! 
When we were at the Polin Museum i saw 8 ladybugs. When we went to the cemetery for my grandmother there were butterflies flying over my head. 
When in Aushwitz  Jeff and my mom went to the restroom and he said there were 2 butterflies flying over their heads. There are no flowers there so one typically does not see any butterflies. 
As i mentioned in an earlier post, when I headed to my dad's home town in Sosnowiec i asked for confirmation that he knew we were there, to see his house and schools. A big truck drove next to me that said "Bernard and Bernard" in huge letters all over the truck.  I felt comforted by all these signs, even if my mom thinks I am a bit crazy! 😛

July 14, 2016

Today my mom and i went to the synagogue in the Jewish Quarters and we saw a beautiful plaque on the wall in memory of Miriam Ferber's husband's family. My mom plays kanasta sometimes with Miriam. 
Then we explored the Jewish Cemetery. I asked a young man with a yarmukah where he was from. He told me New York and I told him i am from outside of Detroit. He said wait here and he brought two others from Detroit to join us. One was Rabbi Burman . They asked my mom to share what she remembered most about being in Aushvitz. They could not believe she made this trip and survived. He brought a whole group of young Jewish students with him. It was comforting to my mom to know thousands of people, Jews and non Jews come to Poland to be educated on the Holocaust. 
In the afternoon we went to Shindler's Factory . Oskar Shindler saved thousands of jews from death by having them work in his factory, by giving them jobs, protecting them and giving them food. 
We are standing near the gate of Shindlers Factory.
Below is a photo of 1,100 Jews he rescued. 
The museum also featured the history of the occupation of Nazis in Krakow and other cities in Poland. 

This is a photo of Oskar. If you have not seen the movie Shindlers List it would be worth your time to view it! 
I learned the swastka used to be a positive symbol and was used in India and several other countries until Hitler used the symbol in WW2 and made it notorious. 
When The Nazi's invaded Poland they   germanized the town by changing street names, changing the towns names  and more. Lodz became Litchmanstad. This sign portrays this change. 
The germans spread horrible propoganda about the Jews having Lice and Typhis. They were not allowed to continue their education. This sign states "Professors were arrested by the Germans."
Toys were created to be demeaning to the Jews.
The museum attempted to replicate the Jewish Ghetto. Tombstones were broken up and used to create walls in the Ghetto. 
It is so painful to hear these stories and know my loving parents endured unimaginable suffering! 

In the evening we wanted to end on a positive note so we went to the Chabad house and listened to a Klezimer concert. 

The music brought back memories ofmy dad! He and my mom loved many of these songs. 
Now i am looking forward to tomorrow's trip to the mountains in Zakapone. When my mom was a little girl she always heard of this place but never ever imagined she would go. So we hired a private tour to take us in the mountains! 










Wednesday, July 13, 2016

July 13, 2016

This morning we took a tour on a golf cart to three parts of Krakow: The Jewish quarter, the Old Town and Market square and the last one was the Jewish Ghetto and Shindler's Factory. Here are some photos from the Old Town and market square. 
In the afternoon we went to Aushvietz concentration camp and Birkenau death camp. My parents both miraculously survived Aushvietz. 
The sign in German means if you work hard you will survive, but in reality the Nazis wanted to kill all the Jews and anyone else who was not Arayian. 
The rail road tracks were used to transport millions of Jews in cable cars. 
Next we went to Birkenau where no one survived. 
Below is the crematorium where they poisoned the prisoners and burned them to ashes. The Germans burned these down before liberation so there would be no evidence left! 
My mother showed such amazing strength and courage to go back to Aushvitz . Her goal was to search for a photo of her brother there. Unfortunately we searched the photos on the walls and there was not a photo of Israel Sruelik. She said good bye to him today! We would have loved to have met him and i know all of us would have loved him. 

On a positive note the Rabbi and the young professionals from New York's J. Roots Journey sent us the following photos: 
1. My family with all of them at the synagogue in Piotrokov 
2.) all the young adults  and Rabbi visiting our grandmother's grave site in The Lodz Cemetery. They said prayers to lift her soul! We were all so touched by this loving act of kindness. 












Tuesday, July 12, 2016

July 12, 2016

Today we went to Piotrokow, the city where my mother was born! We met with Jacek the genealogist again because that was his home town as well. He showed us the spot where my mother lived with her family and the spot where her Jewish school used to be. It was so hard to believe we walked in the same places where she and her family lived. It was the brown building, lower level. 
We walked into the synagogue where her family used to go to pray. Prior to entering something magical happened!  We met a group of young adults from New York with their Rabbi. When the rabbi found out my mom was a survivor he asked her to speak to his group. She shared her life story and touched everyone's life at that moment! She along with the other survivors defeated Hitler!! It was an empowering moment to witness by everyone!!
Next Kasha our wonderful driver took us to see my dad's home town. Once again i asked for confirmation that he knew we were coming to see him. A few minutes later i got it!! 
There was a large truck with my dad's name written all over it!! We love you dad❤️. We saw where he and his friend's Morris Huppert , Jack Feder and Ted Pilcowitz went to school. Although the school is no longer there, there was another building in its spot. 
It was on Ostgogerska 9. We saw some plaques and monumentsdocumenting the   exact spots where the Nazi's hung the Jews and where they were forced to gather in the park (the Jewish Ghetto) 
Finally we arrived in the most beautiful and medieval  looking city, Krakow. It was not destroyed in WW2 and as a result of this the buildings remained as they were.  We walked through the Jewish quarter and the city square. 









Monday, July 11, 2016

July 11, 2016

Today we met with Jacek, the geneologist during breakfast. He came with us to a synagogue in Lodz. The rabbis have been using it as a synagogue for the last 20 years. Prior to that it was used as a Jewish Community Center. 
After that we went to the government building where all the historical records are kept on microfilm. Jacek found the birth dates of my mom's family. We finally got her family's true dates of birth. 
We went to the Survivors Park where survivors of Lodz will have a tree planted in honor of them (my mom and aunt). Also a brick with their name will be placed on the ground of the park. Each season we will get a photo of what the tree will looks like. 
After that we went to Karol Poznanski's Palace. He was the largest textile manufacturer in all of Poland. We toured his mansion. It is now a museum with artifacts from well known famous residents of Lodz.
After that we met Charles Silow good friend Mirka and her family at Manufactura. It is a huge mall now but it  used to be a textile manufacturing plant. We ate dinner at Anatafkwa.
Mirka invited us over to see her lovely home and meet her family.