“The gnawing hunger was always on my mind. To anything else I soon became blind… I realized no mater how small the ration, they couldn’t rob my imagination.” While touring Majdanek, the infamous labor/extermination/POW concentration camp, we read a poem called Hunger. When we read this poem we not only were imagining all of the innocent Jews perishing in this camp, but we were standing on a memorial that held over 18,400 tons of ashes of bodies burned over a 2 day period in what was known as “The Harvest Fest.” We talk through a lot of statistical references when we think of the Shoah or the Holocaust, but after standing where thousands have died I now no longer just see numbers. I have seen the little girls who cry out for their mothers in a crowded shower house full of hundreds of other naked women or the man who thinks he is being sent to his death but instead is put to work by carrying the dead bodies in wheelbarrows to the crematorium. These stories were extremely difficult to hear and I felt weak in the knees and a heavy pit in my stomach while walking through this camp today, but it was the reality of what happened and no matter how harsh reality may be, we should always choose to remember how hard we suffered and how resilient we were to keep on living. On a lighter note, we hugged and sang Hatikva on top of that memorial, and I felt all of us becoming like a little family or community as our tour guide likes to say. I am looking forward to our next adventures.
– Jenna Reis, Sycamore High School
Join The J
When you join the J, you're doing more than just joining a fitness center; you're becoming a member of a truly wonderful community.