On Thursday, we visited the main square of Lublin, which was full of life, and showed an exhibit similar to one in Israel (umbrellas). The old buildings and European vibe reminded most of us of Tel Aviv on a Friday morning.
Later on, we went to Majdanek, a death camp outside Lublin. Majdanek has not been damaged, changed, or retouched, so you can see the exact details, gas stains, bedrooms, personal items. And the crematorium. We were shocked when the first building was entered was gas chambers. The sudden turn off the weather from sunny and bright to cloudy and gray, along with the massive number of crows, created an eerie feeling. Being the only group in the camp, seeing the sadness in our eyes created fear and highlighted the intensity.
Having the ceremony in front of the dome of ashes created sadness and fear, and stirred up emotions. The ceremony was very specific to the camp, and it felt as if you were watching your family cry.
At the entrance to the camp, there is a big monument. The huge size and looking up from under it created a sense of lack of control, as if the monument represents the pour of the Nazis over the Jews, as if they were looking from above. The thunder and storm always seemed to be over the ashes and crematorium, and the minute we left, it started raining.
On the bus, we were watching movies, and we could never imagine that this was how it really felt like until we were in the camp. We realized it was exactly like the movies. The whole vibe was shocking and sad. Just as shocking were the new houses built close to the camp after the war. -Rebecca, Rochester and Dana, Modi’in
TWO SOULS IN MAJDANEK, by JFIer Ben Richardson
We inhabit Majdanek
Where humanity stopped at the front gate
Where the screams of the living turned into the silence of the dead
Where embraces became beatings
Where food became rare
Where life became a privilege
Where gas-filled cans
Where fire engulfed bodies
Reduced love to black dust
Where we now reside
To teach the world Majdanek
Where showers made the world unclean