The Holocaust in History and Living Memory

About the Field Study

This summer, 22 students from the York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB) and 5 students from the Peterborough, Victoria, Northumberland, and Clarington Catholic District School Board (PVNCCDSB) will embark on a life-changing journey as they travel to Germany and Poland to participate in a 15 day field study to learn about the Holocaust. Throughout the field study, students and staff have the opportunity to contribute to this blog. Please check back regularly for updates.

July 7, 2017 • Visit with Max Eisen

As part of their English courses, student enrolled in the program read Max Eisen's memoir By Chance Alone. Today the group had the opportunity to meet Max, to listen to his story, and to ask him questions.

Meeting Max Eisen by Mikaela Norkus

Today our group had the incredible opportunity to meet Max Eisen. After reading his Holocaust memoir, By Chance Alone, we understood the content of his story. When Max detailed his experiences, it allowed us to connect his story with his personality. He gave us a deeper understanding of the Holocaust, and inspired us to learn more. Showing the group pictures of Auschwitz throughout his presentation, Max gave descriptions of what the camp was like while he was there. We can never fully understand the injustices that Max was forced to experience, but he allowed us to appreciate how difficult it is to share his story.

July 8, 2017 • A very busy day!

Today was a very busy day! We gathered for a full day of classes at St. Maximilian Kolbe CHS where students completed their final pre-field study evaluations.

At 3:30 we departed for St. Patrick's Church in Brampton. Father Vito Marziliano and the entire congregation were very welcoming. Father Vito offered a special prayer and blessing for our students and teachers, and we each received a small crucifix as a symbol of our work as missionaries of peace.

After mass we made our way to Pearson where we are currently awaiting our flight to Berlin. Our student blog posts will continue tomorrow.

July 9, 2017 • Arrival in Berlin + Walking Tour

Berlin Walking Tour by Nathan Goncalves

Today we landed in Berlin, Germany. It’s great to finally be in Europe when we have been waiting for so long. One of the things that I found the most interesting on today’s tour is the Reichstag. It’s really cool to see a country so far away have similar government procedures as we do. In Canada we have a prime minister in the parliament building. If he or she wants to change a law or consider a solution for a problem in the world, it has to get approval Parliament first. It's the same thing in Germany with minor details that are different. For example, the prime minister in Canada, has an office in the parliament where he usually works. In Germany, the chancellor works in a different building beside the parliament. In all, I think this was a great first day. I can't wait to see what's in store for the rest of Germany and also Poland.

Photo Credit: Nathan Goncalves

Berlin Walking Tour by Ryan Tsang

After the long 8 hour flight to Germany, the walking tour really awoke my senses to the fact I had actually landed in Germany. I learned many things about the infrastructure of Germany but it was interesting to see that the wall ran through every part of Berlin. Through the roads, the street cars and parks. On this day I witnessed one of the last remaining pieces of the Berlin Wall that was placed in between West and East Berlin. Along with the piece of wall there is a brick pathway that runs throughout the city marking where the wall once stood. Other pieces of wall are placed in museums around the world. What I thought was really cool about the Berlin Wall was how it was commemorated. To this day there is a brick path that runs throughout the city that remains once where the berlin wall was. This gives me chills. It amazes me that I was able to see something so powerful with my own eyes. The wall is history that cannot and should not be forgotten. I learned about the infrastructure of Germany and many other interesting things, but the most interesting part of today’s walking tour was seeing the last part of the Berlin Wall.

Photo Credit: Ryan Tsang

July 10, 2017 • Gleis 17, House of the Wannsee Conference and Topography of Terror

Our day started at Gleis 17, a memorial adjacent to Grunewald Station in Berlin. This powerful memorial acknowledges the deportation of thousands of Jewish people from Berlin to a number of different places including the Auschwitz, Ravensbruck, and Theresienstadt concentration camps.

Students had time to document and reflect on the memorial, and Gage and Jessica led the group through a powerful prayer service reflecting on the importance of unity.

Topography of Terror by Mikaela Norkus

Today our group had the opportunity to visit the Topography of Terror, an education centre that has been built on the former site of the Gestapo and SS headquarters. Throughout our time there, Stephanie (our guide) taught us about the experiences of minorities before and during the Holocaust.

The word “Auschwitz” sends shivers down people's spines, as we acknowledge the tragedies that once occurred there. The picture at left is of SS Guards and Girls a few miles from Auschwitz. It was difficult for our group to comprehend that people could be so unremorseful to the horrors happening a short distance away. As they laughed in the summer of 1944, prisoners were likely simultaneously dying.

Each card in this art display represents someone who was involved in perpetrating the Holocaust. Some of the cards are raised to signify that a trial took place, and others are highlighted to show a sentencing. Over the entire wall, only 16 people were tried, and 3 were sentenced. Stephanie stated, “If they couldn’t charge them with murder, they were charged with aiding with murder”, when referring to the people who lied during their interrogations. An example of this were the Einsatzgruppen, known as the Nazi death squads. Members specifically stated that they shot into the air, not at prisoners. However, they were charged as bystanders because they did not fight against the mass murders.

In groups, we were each given a brief history of the persecution in Nazi Germany of a specific minority, as well as documents to form a case study. My group discussed a family who was persecuted for being Gypsies. A woman lived with her two parents and young child in Germany, as they were all German citizens. In fact, their family had lived there for over a century; however, they were labeled as Gypsies because the woman’s father was a blind musician, and their appearances resembled those of Indian descent. Furthermore, the woman was deported to Poland while she was pregnant with her second child. Despite the letters sent by her parents, they were unable to reunite, so she travelled back to Germany illegally with a soldier. After giving birth, she was bedridden for months (the Nazis assumed she would die), but when she became healthy once more, she was sent to Ravensbruck, a concentration camp for women. Her parents and two young children, who were not deported because the Nazis assumed they would die anyways, were sent to Auschwitz shortly thereafter. Unfortunately, the entire family perished in their respective camps.

Studying personal cases like this one helps us understand the desperation of the victims in the Holocaust. Although we will never truly understand it, we can place faces to the numbers to attempt to comprehend the event. People who deny the Holocaust do not appreciate people’s tragic stories, and we have a duty to prevent this belief by forming a personal connection and sharing these stories. Moreover, the connection to the horrible events allows us to pray for the victim's and family’s souls.

“There’s a lot we don’t know, and we might never know.” - Stephanie

The House of the Wannsee Conference by August Jokub

Today was our second day in Berlin and one of the locations we visited was the House of the Wannsee Conference. This villa was used in 1942 by Nazi leaders in order to discuss "the Final Solution to the Jewish Question". It is a significant location in the history of the Holocaust because in one of the many elegant rooms, Nazi leaders such as Reinhard Heydrich, and Adolf Eichmann decided on the fate of the Jewish people, and planned other atrocities such as the passing of anti-Semitic laws. The exhibition in the villa, which is now a memorial, had an impressive amount of information about the history of Jewish persecution, Jewish ghettos, and information about the men who took part in the meetings. The abundance of information made this visit a great learning experience.

First we listened to our knowledgeable tour guide explain what had occurred in the villa and the importance of all the men that were present at the meetings. Afterwards our group was left with some free time to explore the large charming villa and individually reflect on the cruel Nazi leaders and the victims of the Holocaust that were dehumanized by their actions. When exploring the villa I personally learned some interesting information about the 34,000 Jews that were captured in my home country of Lithuania and the many other civilians that were killed due to the German and Russian conflicts. Lithuania had a considerably large Jewish community that was destroyed by the Nazis through ghettos and concentration camps. This was completely new information to me and I am glad that I actually managed to learn something about anti-Semitism in Lithuania and what the people of my country had to go through. I also found the original documents of anti-semitic laws very intriguing because they show how the Nazis slowly stripped the Jewish people of their rights. I was also appalled by how easily a government was able to discuss and plan such injustice with little remorse. Something that really stuck in my head while visiting this place was how something so disturbing and hateful could have happened in a place of such beauty. The villa was an incredible home with a large garden and a great view of the Wannsee lake and I find it a shame that it will be remembered as the home of the Final Solution. This memorial is a perfect example of the duality of human nature, the human capability of beauty and evil.

July 11, 2017 • Walking Tour of Berlin + Visit to the Ravensbrück Memorial

Today we took a walking tour of Berlin and we went to the Ravensbrück Memorial, a former concentration camp for women.

Bebelplatz + Ravensbrück by Sofia Zhuk

Bebelplatz

Today, during the walking tour of Berlin, our group was able to stand upon a unique and thought provoking memorial. The glass in the ground allowed us to see a room of empty bookshelves located under our feet: the naked library. The simple yet powerful memorial represented the countless books which were burned during the Holocaust. At this memorial, we discussed the messages it was trying to deliver, agreeing upon the fact that the glass we were standing upon was sealed as to lock away a dark period of time, never to be repeated again. Beside it, we found a quote by Heinrich Heine which stated, "Where they burn books, they will, in the end, burn human beings too."

Ravensbrück

The first former concentration camp our group had the opportunity to visit was Ravensbrück, a concentration camp for women where, as our educator Matthias reminded us, "It is not his story, at Ravensbrück, but it is herstory". Prior to our tour, we gathered as a community, sharing thoughts and feelings, preparing for this challenging experience. We came together as a whole, only to be separated by our own individual thoughts as we stepped onto the grounds of the camp. At this emotional and powerful course of time, we were able to retreat into our own thoughts and absorb the fact that we were now walking on the land and soil which was filled with the misery, pain and terror of female prisoners only decades ago. As a woman, I felt vulnerable realizing the fact that during the Holocaust, I would have faced the same fate and imprisonment as the prisoners of Ravensbrück. It pained me to accept that those just like me had their spirits crushed and were starved, beaten, and dehumanized at this very location. Such an experience leaves one with an overwhelmed and heavy heart. However, we were able to feel joy for those who had managed to survive and live to tell their tale. Many of these women return to the site annually, in order to educate and pass on their story to younger generations. To them, the most important part of their legacy is being remembered. Our group's spirits were lifted when we were told the story of those who had felt triumph being alive to this day, returning to Germany in their own terms and living as free people, something many of us have found ourselves taking for granted. Patsheva Dagan, a survivor, wrote a letter to the Nazi guards at her camp saying "I feel triumph knowing that I am now here and they are not. I feel triumph knowing that they tried everything to kill me yet I am have survived." Today, we were witnesses to those that have survived the horrors of those who lost their lives and those who survived Ravensbrück Concentration Camp.

Ravensbrück by Lauren Stoeckle

Upon our arrival at Ravensbrück, we met with our educator, Matthias. He showed us the houses in which some of the SS guards, both female and male, lived. He recounted a story of a survivor of Ravensbrück, who said that as a prisoner she was working as a gardener at an SS guard's house. The child of the guard thought she wasn't working properly and told her that he would tell his father, “and have her shot for it.” Matthias said that it was evident that even the children of Nazis saw the prisoners as subhuman.

We also saw a powerful mural of photographs of some of the women who had been held prisoner in the camp. The photos had been taken either before or after the individuals were detained and interrogated. The women had been thought to be dead, but in recent years, it’s been found that the majority of them actually survived, and so out of respect to them, no picture will be featured here.

Before entering the camp, we were asked what we expected to see. As this was the first concentration camp our group has seen, most of us didn't know what to expect, and the majority had very different answers. No matter what we thought we'd see, it's safe to say that most were surprised by how vast the camp truly was. We know that over 100,000 women were held prisoner there, but it was nearly impossible to picture all of them in one place.

Pictures of the site don't do Ravensbrück justice. You can imagine what seeing it is like, but you can't understand it until you step out onto the rocks, and feel how the air stands still inside the walls. Even those who visit the camp may not ever fully understand the gravity of it, but it will help to bring us a little bit closer.

July 12, 2017 • Berlin Memorials + The Jewish Museum

This afternoon we spent time at various memorials in Berlin and in the evening we visited the Jewish Museum. After dinner the group walked down Unter den Linden to take in the Brandenburg Gage at night.

Berlin Memorials

Jewish Museum Berlin

Brandenburg Gate

Berlin Memorials by Jaime Conway

Memorial to the Sinti and Roma Victims of National Socialism

During the first half of the day, our group viewed upon a very meaningful and unique display memorializing the lost lives of many Sinti and Roma individuals. A very simple, yet powerful representation of the many lost lives is presented. A shallow, circular pond is surrounded by an assortment of stones engraved with a variety of symbolic words. In its centre is a stone triangle with a beautiful flower situated upon it. A new flower is placed on the triangle every morning. Although at first confusion may arise, its meaning and message was much deeper than what was shown. A common classification during the Holocaust for these people was a brown or light red triangle. The triangle location at the heart of the reflecting pool represents the persecution directed towards these individuals who were dehumanized and horribly mistreated. I perceived the flower to represent and remind our world to never forget the events of our past so history shall never repeat itself. Overall, I believed this memorial achieved a great representation of its ideal message that left an imprint on the hearts and minds of many students.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

The next piece the group of students encountered was a very thought-provoking memorial to the murdered Jews of the Holocaust. Within the complexity of the size, shape and height of the stones, a deeper message is hidden. The stones marked a permanent symbolic representation. Other things such as flowers or candles will burn out or die, but the structural components of the rocks’ material will never perish, thus creating an ever-standing honouring of many lost lives.

While walking within the confined walls of this memorial, I felt a great sense of isolation. Every step I would take left me feeling small, as if the vast walls consumed the space around me. My being stood out among the cold, hard stones that hovered high above. I experienced a very eerie and hopeless sensation within the overpowering stones.

After examination of the exhibit, our group conversed about the potential purpose or message portrayed. An interesting idea shared by one of my classmates was regarding the increasing dynamics and levels of the stones and how they showed the severity of the Holocaust.

Reflecting upon my experiences, the person who designed this particular memorial had a very strong representation of the isolation and hopelessness people who suffered through the Holocaust must have felt. Although at times the subject was very challenging to think about and process, in my opinion, it was a beautifully crafted memorialization of the millions of lost Jewish lives within that era of our past.

Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism:

The final memorial visited during the day was a very simple, yet powerful display of the discrimination shown towards the homosexual community during the years of the 1930’s to 40’s. Within a seemingly solid concrete block (similar to that in the prior memorial) a video was playing. The sequences depicted homosexual couples showing intimacy. However when another individual would approach, a sensation of shame would overwhelm these couples and they would part. This series of film made me realize the horrific treatment and scolding shown towards the people living out who they were destined to be. It helped me to realize and reflect upon the suffering of the LGBT community. My words and actions have a far larger impact than I may perceive. I was able to feel empathetic and apologetic to the unbearable treatment of these times. After examining the memorial, our class held a prayer service that further enabled us to reflect, respect and sympathize for the heartbreaking occurrences experienced by many. Today held a great deal of heavy subjects that called upon our class to memorialize and remember the people and events of our past.

A Reflection on the Berlin Memorials by Sophie F.

Today, we visited three Holocaust memorials in Berlin, Germany: the memorial dedicated to the murdered Sinti and Roma, the memorial dedicated to the murdered Jews of Europe, and the memorial dedicated to the murdered homosexuals.

The memorial to the murdered Sinti and Roma is located in its own little sector inside a Berlin park. It is, essentially, a small, grassy yard with a pond situated near the top right corner. At the middle of the pond, there is a grey, concrete triangle, on which there lay a bunch of young, purple flowers when we visited the memorial.

Here is the interesting thing: each day, the flowers on top of the triangle are replaced. My class brainstormed the reason for this, coming up with several possible reasons: it is done to show that the memorialized victims will never be forgotten, or to symbolize the continuous recurrence of new life, or because once a flower is clipped, it cannot go back to where it came from, as the Sinti and Roma cannot go back to where they came from. (They were exiled from India because of religious differences, and now have no country to call their own.) I did not know any of this before visiting the memorial. I also learnt that the Sinti and Roma shared a very similar situation with the Jews during the Holocaust: both were a minority; neither had a home country or government.

The next memorial we visited was the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. This memorial may look odd or unremarkable at first; it is a large, paved square in the heart of Berlin that is decorated with concrete block upon concrete block upon concrete block. The blocks differ in size and shape, but none have any writing or images on them whatsoever; the architect wanted visitors to think instead of read or learn.

At first, I did not understand this memorial. I walked through it and noticed that the ground dipped and rose at certain places, but still did not understand what I was supposed to be feeling or looking for. I noticed, at least, that the cement blocks formed somewhat of a maze, and that one could not theoretically know what was around every corner – which could symbolize the Jews’ suspense and fear.

After brainstorming thoughts and feelings concerning the memorial, I think the class came to a central idea: as one ventures deeper into the memorial, the ground gets lower and the concrete blocks get higher, which makes one feel isolated and small. This could represent the way the victims of the Nazis felt. This is a very insightful idea of which I had not thought before the brainstorm, but now believe is the true meaning behind the unique memorial.

The last memorial we visited was the memorial to the murdered homosexuals. This memorial was a large concrete block much like some of those in the memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe. A small window carved into the memorial reveals that, inside, there is a short video footage of two men who kiss at an event and are met with disapproving looks from surrounding people.

After each class member had a look at the memorial, we all engaged in a discussion about what the memorial meant, what connections we made with it, and, generally, homophobia.

Ultimately, I am glad we got to visit all of these memorials. Before visiting some of them, I had not considered memorials as an important facet of helping people understand the Holocaust. I now have an appreciation for them, as the memorials we visited – particularly the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe – have showed me how memorials can have profound effects on one’s understanding of the emotions and realities of the Holocaust. I also feel that my class received the chance to participate in some notably perceptive discussions surrounding the memorials we explored, which I think helped develop our relationships with each other and provide us with new ideas and insights for future work and discussions in this program.

The Jewish Museum Berlin by Lara Hanna

Today our group had the opportunity to visit the Jewish Museum in Berlin. Our guide Stephanie gave us an extremely informational tour throughout the museum on Jewish history, culture, and religion.

Designed by Polish-American architect Daniel Libeskind, the Jewish Museum has a lot of meaning behind the way it was built. Libeskind found inspiration for his design of the building by plotting the addresses of Berliners on a map and connecting them all. There is also an invisible line that runs down the centre of the museum. Where the lines intersect, empty rooms in the museum in order to symbolize the physical voids created by the destruction of Jewish life and killing of the Jews throughout history. Some of these rooms are accessible, due to the fact that they contain exhibits in them, but most are not meant to be reached to show the loss through architecture.

One of the voids that contains an exhibition is the powerful “Fallen Leaves”. Essentially it consists of thousands of iron plates that resemble faces with open mouths. This particular exhibition is meant to honour all the victims of war and tyranny around the world, including the Jews that suffered immensely in the Holocaust. What was so impactful about “Fallen Leaves” was trying to walk over the iron faces to the end of the room without making a sound. It is not possible. This is just like trying to pretend that the victims of war were and are not suffering from the atrocities of the world. It can also be taken in a way that we should not silence them, but be their voices instead. We are called to be witnesses and this exhibit clearly portrays that.

July 13, 2017 • Berlin to Warsaw + Walking Tour

The day began bright and early with our expert team of luggage handlers working together to get all of our bags down many, many stairs. Thanks to everyone who helped out!

Our bus journey from Berlin to Warsaw provided time for rest and school work. In preparation for our visit to the site of the former Warsaw Ghetto, we watched the Academy Award winning film "The Pianist" and a powerful documentary about rescue and resistance titled "Irena Sendler: In the Name of Their Mothers".

After checking in to our hotel we made our way to the town square for a walking tour and dinner. Stay tuned for student blog posts!

Arrival in Warsaw + Walking Tour by Justin Skrzypczak

As a new day rolled in, we had an early start to get all our luggage down to the bus and make our 8 hour journey to Warsaw. Upon our arrival, we dropped our bags and went on a walking tour of Old Warsaw. The main things that were discussed on the tour were the memorials, the monuments, and the architecture.

In my opinion, the architecture was the most interesting. One cool fact that we learned was that one of the kings was so afraid of being assassinated that he had links built above the cobblestones streets so that he could move freely between parts of the palace without having to go outside. The tour guide talked about how the Polish people rebuilt their city, and the cool features they added after. Following World War II, the capital city, Warsaw, was destroyed. From all the rubble, the city was reconstructed by mostly construction workers, but the citizens were asked to help sometimes too. The city was rebuilt from a flattened town to a beautiful place to visit and a great place to relax for the day.

There was good food and a good vibe was felt while walking through the city, because there are so many alluring street performances going on. I also liked the style of the houses and that the houses were almost all different styles and colours (see picture). I’m excited to learn more about this city and the cities we are visiting in the future. I hope to take in more about architecture and take in the stories and meanings behind the memorials for the cities to come.

July 14, 2017 • Tour of the Former Warsaw Ghetto

Walking Tour of Warsaw: Synagogue & Memorials By Miesha Polintan

Today we woke up bright and early to go on our walking tour of area of the former Warsaw Ghetto. Our first stop was the Orthodox Nożyk Synagogue, also know as the Yellow Synagogue. This historical site is a very important for the Jewish community in Warsaw because it is the only surviving and operational pre war Jewish house of prayer. The synagogue was originally built in 1878 and was owned by a couple in the real estate industry. It was a private synagogue until the couple died and gave the synagogue to the Jewish community. It survived during WWII because it was used by the Germans as an institution to gather and categorize property the Jews left in their apartments after deportation. It was also used as a horse stable. The tour guide said that the synagogue was very lucky during the Warsaw Uprising because when a bomb fell through the roof it did not explode. This is why most of the building is authentic.

One powerful story we were told on the tour was about Janusz Korczak (born Henryk Goldszmit). He was a well known Polish-Jewish educator, pediatrician, children’s author, and the director of an orphanage in Warsaw. He was given many opportunities to leave the ghetto, but he chose to stay with the orphans when the whole institution was being deported to the Treblinka death camp in 1942. When listening to the story I was confused by his decision to refuse freedom and stay in the ghetto. Why would someone refuse freedom? Considering the ghetto was filled with death and disease, most Jews wanted to get out of it, not stay in it. However, Korczak surprised me when he chose to stay in the ghetto. He chose to stand by the children until the end and for that, he will be remembered.

The last stop on the tour was at The Ghetto Heroes Monument, located where the first armed clash of the uprising took place. It is a monument to honour the brave men and women who fought and died during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Near the monument, there is a small circular plaque that reads,"For those who fell in an unprecedented heroic struggle for the dignity and freedom of the Jewish nation, for a free Poland, for the liberation of man - Polish Jews". I think that the Warsaw Ghetto Fighters were determined and courageous. They were able to hold off the Nazis from April 19, 1943 to May 16, 1943, with smaller numbers and less ammunition. They did not know it at the time, but these heroes inspired hope in the imprisoned Jews and the Jews in hiding to rebel and resist. They inspired a new wave of resistance fighters across Eastern Europe and brought hope back to those who thought there was none.

Tour of the Former Warsaw Ghetto by Owen Zhang

Today was the seventh day of our trip. We are in Warsaw and it was our first full day here. Our day began with a bus ride to the city center where we met up with our guides Ewa and Agnieszka and began walking towards the site of the former Ghetto. In the beginning of World War II, Nazi Germany invaded Poland. Prior to that, events such as Kristallnacht and the book burnings targeted hate towards Jews. These events slowly built up hate towards racial minorities such as the Jews and it led to ghettos being formed. These were spaces normally in the center of the city. Nazi Germany wanted to separate the Jews with the Poles and they did that by using the ghettos. There were about 500,000 Jews living in the city of Warsaw in 1939 when Germany invaded. The Warsaw Ghetto was built and it was only a total of 3.4 square kilometres. That is extremely small as about half a million Jewish people had to live there from then on. This meant that all Poles living in that area had to move out and the Jews living in the city had to move in.

The Warsaw Ghetto was completely enclosed by brick walls that were about three to five metres tall. Most of the buildings served as walls to save money. There were only a few entry points where staff and food came in. The ghetto included many residential buildings, a few churches, and a synagogue. Despite that, life was far from good in there. Each person was given only 200 calories a day. This is how food smugglers made lots of money. They were so rich they could bribe the guards into bringing horse trolleys full of food for just money.

While walking through the area of the former ghetto, I noticed how well it recovered after it was completely destroyed in war. Pictures from the ghetto are graphic and hard to look at. One picture I saw showed a baby dying on the street because of hunger. The parents had to abandon their child and in the background, healthy people are walking past. It was hard for me to understand that where I was walking once sat a person that was shot or starved. The seriousness of these tragic events can not be expressed in pictures or words. The experience of being there really makes you think about the people that suffered.

Tour of the Former Warsaw Ghetto by Gage Burchall

Today we embarked on a guided walking tour of sites that were part of the Warsaw Ghetto. This tour offered a very eye opening view of the living conditions of the oppressed Jewish people living in the ghetto. The first four hours of the tour were focused on architecture and Jewish life within the ghetto, and the second half was focused on the memorials dedicated to the brave fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Warsaw is full of many of memorials dedicated to the brave souls who lost their lives during the revolt. The first of the prominent memorials that we visited was at Mila 18, the hidden bunker. The memorial was built over the ruins of the last bunker where the Jewish resistance tried to hold out. These brave men and women became overrun and ultimately took their own lives. A memorial now stands over the hill of the bunker to commemorate both them and the many other fighters who lost their lives at their own hand. Later on, towards the end of the tour we visited the Ghetto Heroes Monument. Located right where the first engagement of the uprising took place, this monument now stands as an inspiration of courage, and a grim reminder of what can become a reality if no one steps up to evil. Overall, this tour the memorials viewed provided us with very moving and powerful imagery. It is through the inspiration of these monuments that we see the extent of the damage that evil can create when it goes unchallenged, and that we must work to stop such heinous unfoldings from happening again. We must continue to bear witness on this learning experience.

July 15, 2017 • The Warsaw Rising Museum and the Museum of the History of Polish Jews (POLIN)

The Warsaw Rising Museum by Francesca Ferrari

The Warsaw Rising Museum was the first of the two museums we visited today. It was unlike any of the other exhibits we have visited along the trip so far. The others seemed like just words on a wall and it can be tiresome to walk around for hours; either listening to people talk or reading about a specific topic, even though it may be informative. Unlike those museums, this one was self-guided and interactive. We were able to walk through tunnels, try shooting a replicated artifact of a gun, and go into a tent to look at medical papers used during the time period of the Warsaw Uprising. The others as well as myself really enjoyed it and seemed to take away more information compared to the other exhibits and memorials we have visited. It seemed to be easier to relate to and visualize how life was during this time and it has changed many of our perspectives on the Uprising. It was a great experience and I’m happy to have taken away so much from this opportunity.

July 16, 2017 • Treblinka

Grounds Once Walked by Cheyenne Kammerer

As I stand here and look at the sky so blue, I remember you once looked at it too

As I walk the grounds that you once stood


I look at the trees standing tall and think about how you didn't feel like that, not at all

I cannot stand the thought that you died and I am free as the butterflies encircle me

But what I've learned is that beauty grows where terror once glowed

And here I am, peace at last


-07/16/17


I Am a Witness by Alexandru Ionita

Wildflowers are growing, Birds are chirping,

Who knew that at one point hell was unearthing?

Butterflies flap their wings, bees are busy buzzing,

People were dying, yet nothing is crying.

In a place full of life, it’s hard to be alone,

Unless you know something that no one else knows.

Birds may not remember, neither the bees

Or the butterflies that pass by each day.

But I.

I am witness to those whose souls were reaped by death that night.

I am witness to the events that transpired.

I am witness to the dead for they have none.

I am witness to that which shall never happen again.


Treblinka by Amanda Read

Today, after a long bus ride, we arrived at the site of the Treblinka death camp. We had a chance to look at some artifacts that were excavated from the remnants of the camp. After watching a short video about the site, we proceeded to the memorial. There were many large and small rocks that represented graves of the victims.

While walking around this memorial, most of us noticed a lot of buzzing bugs and butterflies. Some people shared their experiences at this memorial and many had the same experience. We realized the butterflies were attracted to certain people and followed them around for their time while there. This had a deep message for some people as it represented the lost lives of people coming back. It gave us a feeling of hope.

Treblinka by Briana Rose Nudo

Today we visited Treblinka, a former death camp which operated between the years 1942-43. We arrived at the serene surroundings which were full of life despite the death that encompassed Treblinka not long ago. We noticed the trees and butterflies flying freely through the memorial stones, which represent the tombstones of the approximated 800,000 to 1,000,000 victims of Treblinka. Janusz Korczak (Henryk Goldszmit) (mentioned in July 14th’s blog) is the only victim whose name is engraved on a stone.

Although I learned many things, one of the biggest revelations I had was about the camp and the facade built for the victims who arrived. Himmelstraße, which translates to “the road to heaven”, was the name given by the Nazis to the path the victims were forced to follow once they arrived at Treblinka. This one fact resonated with me the most, considering that these people did not know where they were going. However, they were approaching something that was, in reality, a living hell.

I noticed many things here today that affected me, the butterflies being the most powerful. While walking through the isolated area I saw at least a hundred butterflies and bees and there were also flowers growing in the cracks of the pavement. I recognized this as a symbol of hope and growth as we remember this history from over 75 years ago. The most touching occurrence today was when a butterfly landed on me. Despite the seemingly insignificant nature of such an action, the butterfly accompanied me on my shoes for half of the excursion. I found it intriguing for a place like this to be buzzing with life despite its dark past.

This experience was insightful for us all, since we stood on the past itself as visitors and were able to reflect on what happened where we stood. Throughout this field study, we stand in places where significant parts of our global history happened, and today was one of the most profound. As Treblinka was destroyed by the Nazis, it was up to us to imagine what happened and try to understand this environment in an emotional manner. We saw many things which could be interpreted differently for everyone. Personally, I saw many roses which I considered to represent the beauty of these people and their strength.

Elie Wiesel once said: “to forget a holocaust is to kill twice”. With this knowledge I believe that moving forward as a group, will recognize the past for what it was and never succumb to the denial which is still present today. We owe this as witnesses.


July 17, 2017 • Warsaw to Lublin to Krakow + Majdanek

Majdanek by Nicholas Seniow

Today was our fifth day in Poland and we left Warsaw and went to Krakow. Along with the Holocaust related movies that we watched on the bus, we made a stop in Lublin and visited Majdanek, a former concentration camp.

Majdanek was operational for three years between 1941 and 1944 before it was liberated by the Soviets. At the camp, we all became a witnesses to many different things. For our tour today, we made the decision to not go with a tour guide like we have for a lot of other tours, and instead decided to go on our own so we had more time to actually reflect instead of just being told facts. Even though we didn’t have a tour guide to tell us all the facts, we still learned a lot through our experience.

The first thing that we saw upon arriving at the camp was a large memorial at the entry gate of the camp. When discussing this memorial, many students mentioned that they thought that it represented words, numbers, or even the faces of those who were victims at the camp. As we walked up the stairs to the memorial, many students commented on how the stairs were steep and the memorial stood over them making them feel small and insignificant.

We then walked along and visited some of the barracks of the former concentration camp. Unlike most other Nazi concentration camps, Majdanek was kept in pristine condition and everything that was there is still there. Some of the barracks have been converted into memorials. One of the barracks that stood out to most of us was one that had the shoes of the victims. Seeing the size of the barracks, the amount of shoes, and the terrible quality of the shoes made me feel sick and a lot of us couldn’t stay inside. Through this, we learned just how many prisoners were in the camp. The vastness of the camp was enough to give us an idea, but it was nearly impossible to picture all the people there. With the shoes, it gave us an opportunity to envision just how many people there were.

After seeing many barracks, we visited the crematorium. We saw a small crematorium before at Ravensbrück, but this one was so much bigger. Instead of being a small building with only a few furnaces, it was a large building with much more furnaces. Here we learned how over 360,000 victims died at this camp.

The last thing we witnesses was another memorial, this one, a large urn shaped mausoleum that contained the ashes of those that died in the camps. As we all walked up the stairs and saw the ashes, many of us were brought to tears. Here, we realized just how important it is to learn about what had happened and to spread our knowledge to those who don’t know. By spreading our knowledge, we spread awareness so that people see the signs next time something similar might happen so that we can prevent it, because we are witnesses.

Majdanek by Jacquie Girard

Imagine walking down a city road, you turn to your left and you see apartment buildings, to your right, a barbed wire fence that ran across a former concentration camp in near perfect condition that laid underneath a busy city skyline. Today, our class of witnesses had the opportunity to walk the grounds of Majdanek, a former concentration camp in Lublin, Poland. This excursion was not led by a tour guide, so we were able to be alone with our thoughts and emotions, creating an overall more impactful experience.

Majdanek is the third former concentration camp that we have seen, and it is utterly different from the rest. Still to this day, Majdanek could be fully functional in under a week. Barracks still line the grounds, watchtowers still hover over you, barb wire still fences you in. Majdanek gives you a glimpse into the past to see what life in the camps was like; it was truly a horrific experience like no other. This concentration camp, due to its preservation, gives you a small representation of what the camp used to smell like, look like, and sound like.

One of the most striking scenes in the camp was the tall, black guard towers. They were difficult to look at; I could feel their demanding presence as they hovered over me, leaving me feeling watched and scrutinized. The buildings were all standing tall, unchanged by time. One would look around and could see what prisoners saw, there was no imagining. Barracks, gas chambers, guard towers, barbed wire fences, a chimney, it was all there. The only parts absent were the emaciated prisoners and the brutal guards, the only remnants of them were their presence in our minds, in our thoughts.

One quotation that we read aloud spoke about the arrival of prisoners at Majdanek and how when they entered, they were “accompanied by screaming”. For many in our group, this experience was overwhelming and almost impossible to grasp. Minutes into the tour, one could hear sniffling and sudden bursts of crying. We offered support to each other to continue on this difficult journey.

There were feelings of sorrow and despair that resided in Majdanek. Black birds walked the grounds, completing the eerie feeling of being watched. We each had a different connection, a different experience with the former concentration camp, whether it be a house number plastered on one of the barracks, seeing thousands of shoes, or having a loved one who went through Majdanek. Through these different connections, we all felt as if our hearts were heavy: heavy from the pain that lingered on the camp grounds or from the souls of those who passed away. This is the pain of a class, of a group, of individuals, bearing witness. I have learned that this site leaves you with a sense of sorrow and torment, but it should not be pushed away, it should be embraced and felt, for it is the pain of someone's grandpa, grandma, brother, sister, parent, son, daughter, uncle, aunt or friend, it is the pain of a fellow human. I learned from Majdanek that being at the place of death for thousands of people who experienced torment and suffering is incredibly difficult, but it must be done, so that we as humans do not forget. I am, and we are, witnesses to Majdanek.

July 18, 2017 • Walking Tour of Krakow

Walking Tour of Kraków by Madeleine Campbell

There is one thing to be said for sure about Krakow: it is beautiful. Over the course of our 4 hour walking tour we learned about some of the sites along with why Krakow is so pleasing to the eye. It remained relatively unscathed during World War II because the Nazis wanted to preserve it so they could use it as a one of their cities for the Aryan race. It’s easy to see why the Nazi party wanted Krakow so badly just by going to the town square. It is said to be the most beautiful and largest town square in Europe, filled to the brim with restaurants, shops, people, and (to the ‘delight’ of some people) birds. Wawel Cathedral is also another focus of majesty in Krakow. A patchwork quilt of magnificent architectural design and stunning interior houses the dead kings of Poland a few saints, poets, and queens.

Krakow also has a charm that is very welcoming. A seamless connection to Old Town and the newer more modern part of the city. The palace and cathedral paired with a lock bridge chock-a-block with modern art convey a unique experience for tourist.

Walking Tour of Kraków by Victoria Schellenberg

Today was one hot and sunny day as we went on the walking tour of Krakow. Our class went to the Wawel Castle and we got to experience being inside the Wawel Cathedral Church which has a 1000 year history. We took a beautiful class photo in the square of the castle.

Inside the Wawel Cathedral are coffins of the kings and queens of Poland, as well of many historical items that make up Krakow's history. Students had the chance to pray in a room dedicated to Saint John Paul II before we left.

The Wawel Castle has a great historical myth. Our tour guide, Danuta, told us the story of the Dragon of Krakow. The story went like this: Long time ago, there was a dragon who lived in his den at the Wawel Castle. He would eat beautiful women, except for anyone with red hair, two different eye colours and anyone who wrote with their left hand. Anyone who tried to defeat the dragon failed miserably. Their swords, arrows and all the weapons in the castle would not harm the dragon in any way; he was simply invincible.

One day, a princess was captured. A young shoemaker heard the news and made a great plan to fool the dragon. He decided to put sodium into a sheep and he gave it to the dragon. When the dragon ate the sheep he quickly became thirsty. He went to the nearest lake and drank gallons of water until finally, he exploded because he drank too much.

Overall we had a great day in the sun and we got plenty of exercise! Our time at the Wawel Castle and Cathedral will always stay in our memories.

July 19, 2017 • Auschwitz I

Auschwitz by Miriam Panahi

Today our group made our long awaited trip to Auschwitz I. The sun was shining brightly today in Southern Poland making the sky a beautiful, blinding shade of blue. It would have been beautiful — if it hadn't felt so wrong. The sun isn't supposed to shine at Auschwitz.

Auschwitz I was a Polish military base before the Nazis took over and began the forced labour of polish prisoners and politicians. This is where the infamously ironic ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ (work will set you free) gate stands over the camp where hundreds of thousands sadly found out that work only resulted in death.

Most of Auschwitz I consists of identical brick buildings known as ‘blocks’, in which the prisoners were held, tortured, experimented on and ultimately murdered. Despite the gas chambers in Auschwitz I being one of the most gruesome places on site, the torture cells in Block 11 left a similar impression of overwhelming sadness. Block 11 was the site where executions took place. In these cells, prisoners were locked in for about three days without food and with no room to lay down or even stretch. While walking through that small hallway I began to think “What kind of mind could be able to think of such a cruel form of torture?” That question has followed me throughout the whole trip and after walking through the camp today, I craved the answer to that question even more and frankly, I am terrified by the fact that an answer might exist.

There's one building where many artifacts of the dead prisoners are housed. In the exhibition there are large glass display cases that contain: luggage that the victims believed would be taken with them, the spectacles of the people that were killed, and children's clothes. The enormity of the literal mountains of artifacts was mind numbing and extremely overwhelming.

The experience of Auschwitz I was extremely unexpected since the site is treated more as a museum than a memorial site. In comparison to the other sites we have visited so far, Auschwitz I was also the most crowded since it is one of the largest extermination camps during the Nazi reign. Since visiting Majdanek I was expecting a lot of self-reflection to take place, but instead I was greeted with statistics and facts about the camp which were extremely helpful in explaining the circumstances in the camp from April 1940 to January 1945.

During the tour our guides introduced us to a video of a choir of Jewish children singing HaTikvah and explained that we would touch on the meaning of the song later on. Sadly, we did not have the time to do so, and I began to get curious. The lyrics read as follows:

As long as the Jewish spirit is yearning deep in the heart,

With eyes turned towards the East, looking toward Zion,

Then our hope - the two-thousand-year-old-hope- will not be lost:

To be a free people in our land

The land of Zion and Jerusalem

The lyrics revolving around the theme of hope are beautiful.

The most impactful part of the trip was a quote our guide happened to mention: “200,000 people were liberated, but that doesn’t mean that they survived”. This sentence hit me very hard since I began to differentiate surviving and living. The notion that the survivors would never truly be free after liberation weighed heavily on my heart knowing that they would have to carry those scars for the rest of their life.

The experience at Auschwitz I today was extremely powerful and unexpected, and has widened my eyes to the goal of this course: to bear witness. We, as students, have the incredible opportunity to bear witness to this tragedy in order to spread the message and make sure that such a monstrosity never happens again. I am a witness.

Auschwitz I by Gavin A.D. Burden

Auschwitz: the name almost everyone knows. One of three camps around Oświęcim, Poland. The place of over a million recorded deaths; not quite as terrifying as Birkenau but a terrifying prospect nonetheless. I’m not certain as to what I expected to find there but what I was met with was something else entirely. The camp seemed quiet, quaint almost; as if nothing had happened there. Just under the surface, however, lingered a loathsome past; one of death and of tragedy. Our guides did an effective job walking us through the history of the camp and of the politics surrounding it. While most of the figures were familiar to me, it is most definitely a different experience to be receiving said lessons in Auschwitz. I was also reminded of some faces as we walked through the camp.

When we passed through Block 21 I thought of the surgery that was there, the one at which Max Eisen worked for those few months. As we passed by some photographs in one of the displays I caught sight of an image of Saint Maximilian Kolbe as he was being escorted to the camp. (In the black and white photograph below he is second from the right.) To walk where these people walked was truly an inspiration.

As I took in these lessons I was reminded of Max’ push to “imagine what it was like” during his presentation. As I walked through I tried to do just that; I tried to see the mud rather than the grass, the smell of death rather than that of summer, the grips of starvation instead of the pleasant feeling of fullness. I feel no shame in admitting that I was not able to fathom this reality, I can appreciate the implications, but the actual experience is not something I can imagine.

It was at the crematorium however that I was impacted by most; the idea that this was a ‘small’ operation and that it could only burn a few hundred bodies a day. The idea that a few hundred people was slow, and seeing the actual systems that would have been used gave me a very uneasy feeling. St. Stephen’s CSS in Bowmanville (my school) has a population of just over a thousand people, to think that in a single day the entire population could be gassed and within a few days, their remains destroyed was an impact I shan’t soon forget - a sentiment that I hope I can share on behalf of everyone. It was a truly informative experience that no book, documentary, or testimony could match.


July 20, 2017 • Wieliczka Salt Mine and Auschwitz-Birkenau

Wieliczka Salt Mine by Jessica Byrne

The Wieliczka Salt Mine we visited here in Krakow is one of the sights I will always remember. Though it is not related to the Holocaust and our studies here in Europe, it was a nice break from the heavy topic. It was so beautiful there, I think we all can agree it was a highlight of this trip as both teachers and students seemed awestruck.

I think I will always remember the first time I gathered enough courage to look down the gap between the staircase leading to the very bottom of the stairs. Now that was a mistake. After walking down 376 steps underground through the mine shaft, we entered one of the thousands of chambers made completely from salt. Our tour guide had said that during our tour we would only see about 1% of the entire mine. Though what was shocking to me was how he mentioned he had only seen about 10% himself. There are stunning chapels with giant chandeliers and other chambers with simply a statue. All of the chambers had their own story; all of which were a part of history. Some of famous astronomers, others of kings and royalty of other sorts. After taking this tour, I feel that I have a better understanding of the history of Krakow aside from what happened during the Holocaust. I am glad that I visited these breathtaking sites and I hope I can come back to see another part of the mine someday. I am a witness to the culture of Krakow.

Auschwitz-Birkenau by Cheyenne Kammerer

Today we visited Auschwitz- Birkenau. It was a day filled with different moments that impacted everyone in different ways. As we approached the camp, a heavy feeling of sorrow and sadness draped over everyone. Not only could you feel it in the air, but you could see it on everyone's faces and through their body language.

Auschwitz was a big deal for me; not only was it once a place where thousands and thousands feel victim to Nazi terror, but it was a place in which Max's (the survivor we met) family were killed. To witness such a place was an impactful thing. Today the weather was around 32 degrees and many of us found it hard to handle the heat or stand for long periods of time. Many of us were looking for shade or places to sit anywhere we could. This really hit me. We couldn't complain. To think what the victims of Auschwitz II once had to endure. They lived each day in these conditions. We were just walking, not working. We were able to leave and return to air conditioning, they were trapped in terror. All I could think about is the appel. I couldn't even begin to imagine standing for such periods of time in this weather. It really makes you think just how much we take for granted. We are so lucky.

We visited a few barracks that still remain. The barracks were wooden, dark, and uninviting. They took two days to be built. Standing in these rooms gave me chills and a heavy heart but what really made my skin crawl was that these barracks could house 51 horses or 120 sheep, but instead were home to 450 prisoners with about five people in each bunk. The camp was fenced with high wire that made even a tall man feel small. The guard watch towers loomed above. Green grass now grows upon the horror that was once known.

This experience allowed for more reflective time as we were walking more. This impacted me in differently; being alone with my own thoughts made everything more real and intense. I noticed this amongst my classmates as well. My group went to "Canada" a barrack which housed all the belongings. There was a powerful art piece located near the end of the Sauna building. It was a showcase of many, many personal photographs. Some included couples, families, friends. These pictures captured the individuals at such times of happiness and bliss. It was hard to think that some of these people did not return to these lives. Seeing faces made all the numbers you hear much more impactful. At the end of our tour our guide said something that really stuck with me. Igor said, "I have two dreams. I have the dream that you will return here one day, and that you'll always remember the stories told". For me this really spoke to what this course is all about. We are all here to witness the events and effects of the Holocaust. I am a witness, we are witnesses. It is so important to not let these people be forgotten or to let their stories to die.

July 21, 2017 • Wadowice + Zakopane

Wadowice and Zakopane by Justine Gheorghe-Kireanu

Our trip is coming to an end, but we are ending it ending it on a positive note. Today we started our day with a bus ride to Wadowice, the birthplace of Saint John Paul II. During our short time in this beautiful city it was raining cats and dogs. Although it was raining, I thought that it really helped us as a group capture the beauty of the town, and its small white chapel dedicated to the famous pope.

After our short stay in Wadowice, we hopped back onto the bus, drove for two hours and went to the city of Zakopane. This is the city of shopping, as I like to call it. We spent our day buying souvenirs and eating delicious smoked cheese. We all ended up going up up the mountain and exploring the sights being on the luge. Some of us went multiple times! We also explored the culture of the city seeing sights like large snakes, moving statues, and horse and carriage rides. All around we had a great day roaming around the town and the mountain having fun with friends. We wished we could have stayed longer but we couldn’t because we had to begin our three-hour bus ride home to the hotel.

Wadowice and Zakopane by Jason Lau

Today was a day of blessings. The agonizing heat that we experienced here in Krakow for the last 2 days has diminished. Heavy clouds provided some shade for us today. On the bus ride to Wadowice, our first tour point, it was a wet, cold and clammy condition. The heavy clouds that shielded us from the blinding sun let down its rain droplets, and in large buckets! This type of weather was perfect to clear up the dry heat in Krakow, and a well-needed cool-off in the temperatures.

Our first stop was Wadowice, the birthplace of Karol Wojtyła, or St. Pope John Paul II. Although this was a short break and stop in our long day, it was meaningful and holy. Being in the hometown of a saint was so immense and powerful, especially a man so powerful, influential and holy. Ranked as the most famous pope of all time, Saint Pope John Paul II loved everyone, and not just Catholics. His story is in particular interesting, as he lived through World War II, experienced loss in his family, yet continued to make peace and build a better world. A plaque is dedicated to him on the exterior of the basilica describes the most important dates of life which include his birth, papacy, beatification and canonization. He is truly a saint that represents Poland as a Roman Catholic country.

A long bus ride took us to our second and final stop in Zakopane. The weather started to cooperate after the Wadowice visit, as the rain clouds slipped behind the horizon and out of sight. Lunch was special but not large. A group of us ordered the sliced fried potato kebab. It is a specialty in Zakopane, and a scrumptious one as well! Once fried, different powders and condiments can be added to make the potato more flavourful and yummy!

The view at Zakopane was amazing. This small little resort town is famous for its scenic views of the Tatra Mountains, picturesque buildings and architecture, as well as the number of tourists. To get the best view of the little town, you have to take a short gondola ride up the mountain. Yes, up a mountain! The gondola ride costs 17złs for one way ticket (many people choose to hike one way), and 23złs for up and down the mountain. Once you reach the top of the mountain, you will see a new world on top of everyone! A gorgeous scene from above, and even the biggest homes below the mountain were viewed to be Lego-sized! Numerous candy, souvenirs, ice cream, and other shops were located at the peak, and attracted many tourists to visit and purchase.

I enjoyed the most relaxing ride since coming to Europe. Located on the edge of the mountain tip was a gravitational toboggan ride that would loop through tubes similar to those of bobsledding. This ride was intense in terms of speed and brought out my brave inner layer. I ended up riding it 6 times, for 38złs. Not bad, right?

All in all, this day was very different from the other days of this journey. Every day had bits of learning about the Holocaust, but today was all fun and games. Today really felt like a day on vacation. However, one important aspect we as an entire class and group did, and that was bonding as friends, even with the teachers. Today was a day of fun. Friendship was formed instead of knowledge, which is equally as important for humans. Today, I am a witness to the changing attitudes of our fellow classmates in a positive way, and building friendships that can last forever.

July 22, 2017 • The Final Day of the Field Study

Today we spent time talking and reflecting as a group in our final community circle of the field study. Students and staff had the opportunity to reflect on their experiences and to share their thoughts in a group discussion. Ms. Lausic led a powerful prayer meditation which concluded with a beautiful rendition of "Hallelujah" by Mr. Nasello (vocals) and Gavin Burden (guitar). To close our community circle we wrote letters to our future selves to serve as reminders of the commitment we have made to bear witness to the events of the Holocaust, and to create positive change as missionaries of peace in our schools, our communities, and our world.

July 28, 2017 • We Are Witnesses Symposium

Over the past few days, students have been busy completing their final summative evaluations including the CPT photo essay, English exam, and IDP seminar. Today, we welcomed family and friends to our program symposium titled, "We Are Witnesses".

Following the opening prayer service, each student had the opportunity to share their CPT photo essay titled, "I Am a Witness", in a seminar presentation to family and friends. It was a moving experience for all participants and attendees.

In addition to listening to the seminar presentations, our guests had the opportunity to explore the incredible artistic pieces the students created in response to their experiences in Germany and Poland (see photos below).

Thank you to all of our guests who attended today's symposium, and a special thank you to our students for their incredible work over the past three months. Their commitment to bearing witness to what they have seen and experienced is inspiring.