Needless to say that our day was a short one due to Erev Shabbat, however, the experiences were just as powerful and emotional. We began our day with a meaningful tefillah at the Lodz Jewish Quarter Beit Midrash at 7:00 am. After davening, we had breakfast and boarded the bus for the Lodz Jewish Cemetery. At the cemetery, we were able to stop at a few important sites. At this cemetery, Nathan Silberberg had knowledge of his great grandfathers brother, his relative was buried there, somewhere. He asked someone who worked there for assistance in finding the matzeiva, and thankfully found it in time before we all left. In addition to stopping at the kevarim of Rav Eliyahu Chaim Meisel and the Poznanski family tomb, we stopped at the kevarim of four Bnei Akiva madrichim who were murdered by fascists after the war. Our group sang Hatikva and Yad Achim (the Bnai Akiva anthem) to pay our respects to the madrichim. The Lodz cemetery was known for the fact that it was still standing and was not as desecrated as much as the other cemeteries. Soon after, we boarded the bus for Chelmno: the first Polish extermination camp. As soon as we got off the bus, Rabbi Marcus spoke about a destroyed building that was used in order to strip the Jews of their clothing and belongings before they were gassed with carbon monoxide in busses. We were able to look at different objects that belonged to the Jews in the museum exhibit including pendants and prestigious military awards. After, we traveled to the forest, where the Jews were disposed of and buried in massive graves. We sang songs in a circle, recited Tehillim, and heard divrei chizuk from Rabbi Sufrin. He told us the story of Rav Yehuda Leib Eisenberg who was willing to give his life for his community in Lask and was murdered in Chelmno. Minutes later, we boarded the bus for our hotel in Lodz and we are now preparing for what will definitely be an inspirational Shabbat.
Shabbat Shalom Umevorach!