The past few days have seen snow arrive in London for the first time this winter. Putting on my walking boots reminded me of the reason I had bought them.
Over the past few years I have wanted to go on a trip to Auschwitz, but it never seemed to be convenient. So when my son first asked if I was interested in going and that my oldest grandson would be going, I immediately said yes, since I thought that if I don’t do it now, at the age of 70, I never will.
As the day got nearer, I did become apprehensive – leave home at 3am, get home at midnight, take plenty of warm clothing, take food because we can’t stop for meals, take a torch, the list goes on. What have I let myself in for?
Came the day, and everything went well. The taxi arrived, everybody got picked up on time and we arrived at the airport early. The flight went well and then we were in Kracow. The next 10 hours were probably the most moving and emotional time of my life. I am sure that everyone finds it hard to put into words the emotions that flow whilst you are in the death camps.
I must admit that I found Auschwitz very emotional at the time, but it was only when we went to Birkenau that the full horror of what had happened to Jews in Europe really hit home. The sheer vastness of the camp and the way in which Jews were systematically murdered was brought home to you.
Our gathering near the memorial, the Rabbi’s talk, the prayers, the blowing of the shofar and the walk back along the railway lines added to the emotions that we all felt.
Arriving back at the airport we found that Poland was covered in fog. No flights for at least 24 hours. We decided as a group to go home by coach. A 1000 mile trip across Europe. The next 24 hours in many ways added to the emotions we all felt, because it allowed the whole group to bond together in a way that is not normally possible.
If you want to learn more about Auschwitz go to: