touring auschwitz, dachau, bergen belsen, etc

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    anybody ever go to tour the concentration camps? do you recommend it? which tour did you go on and what did you gain from going?


    I went to Auschwitz and Majdanek on my own because I was in Warsaw.

    I really can’t say I gained much from going. Between the ill-behaved locals and the just as ill-behaved student groups from EY (secular and national-religious) I thought I was at a theme park :(. Everything is just too refinished and too well-preserved for anyone to get a sense of the horrors of those places.

    I was forced to take a trip for visa renewal purposes where I was living at the time and Poland was the best deal. Once I was there, I felt I had to go to the camps. I should have visited the ghetto and shul in Lublin on the way to Majdanek but I had no time.

    I went to Auschwitz on a Sunday and had to use a very convoluted route (Poland is a Catholic country and Sunday is not a workday there). If you go from Warsaw to Auschwitz by train don’t go on a Sunday.


    so you didnt get any holocaust appreciation from your tour? like, if i wanna really know and see what went on, would i be better off going to a holocaust museum and reading some books?


    It can be a trip of a lifetime! I guess it would depend on who you go with and what hashkafa they give over – but this is something WELL WORTH EVERY EFFORT! There is alot to do in that area, so many keverim.. rabbi pesach krohn does such a trip, it’s $$$$$ but i really think it’s worth it!!!!!! If you can – go for it!!!

    What you gain – well for starters you’re praying by lots and lots of keverim.. In their death they don’t have the bad of this world and are EVEN GREATER than they were in their life!! And they’ll take you’re prayers up for you to G-d..

    One can gain so much from such a trip (prob only if done in the right way, with right people etc) .. Such as, an appreciation for being a jew – some of the stories you hear about what people did in the camps are incredible!

    On the flip side – there’s no choice. These people in pre war europe went so far that G-d had to bring them back.. There is justice in the world.. G-d is making sure of that..

    … can tell you more but for now this is long enough!! Lotsa luck!!


    I did the Nesivos girls tour a few years ago.. its a very informative and interesting experience. i totally did not picture the concentration camps looking like that.. we went to four camps, warsaw, lublin, cracow for shabbos. davened at the Rema shul.. went on a boat ride on a famous river there.. lizensk.. davened at many kevorim and highlight for Bais Yakov girls the kever of Sara Schenirer. I felt like i was on a mission to take in all the knowledge of what went on bec. the last of the survivors are dying out.. let me know if u have any questions..


    Heritage Tours with Rabbi Kreiger who runs the Shem Olam Holocaust institute… He is officially involved in digging and researching… many of the stories other groups heard actually involved him and his discoveries; added an extra level of reality.


    i want to say one thing. i went on a tour with my yeshiva and i was very upset at the level of pritzus in the camps. in such a place where thousends of keddoshim gave up their lives and this is how they treat it……. what chutzpa that i must do a shmiras aynayim in aushwitz….. its a disgrace….its mostly from the israeli groups…. they should not be allowed in


    my parents went and my father organized a group of other parents from the community to go with them, i’m not sure exactly which places they went (i know for sure Aushwitz and stuff..)but they said it was an unforgettable trip.

    My sister also went with the same group she went to Israel with for the Summer, she said it was also worth it and very emotional.


    Maybe go with a guide – but really I think looking at the pictures online and reading the history gives you more than visiting the camps as they are preserved now.

    I was not at Bergen Belsen or Terezin. If I ever go back to Prague I will go to Terezin. They are not in Poland and they may be run and preserved differently.


    thanx everyone for ur responses and oppinions!


    Wait a minute, you haven’t heard my tirade yet.

    I am not in a position to travel on one of these tours now anyway, but even if I could I would not go!

    Firstly, I have no desire to return to the necrotic soil of Europe. Every daled amos is another lug of martyred Jewish blood. I would not willingly walk again into the putrid environment of more than 1,000 years of senseless slaughter. It makes me shake when I but consider the history of the place.

    Second, I see these destinations as another piece of the sickness. In a devastated and unproductive country, instead of burying their heads in shame for eternity and cowering at the mention of the Holocaust(s), they make a MUSEUM out of it. I cannot express on a blog the amount of anger that causes me. Even now these pernicious creatures continue to capitalize on the murder of our innocent family? My family – your family – all of our family!? Is there no industry for them to make their business that they have to turn their inhumanity into a TOURIST ATTRACTION?

    Finally, I will add that it is my belief that people visit these places as a way of assuaging their guilt at not giving the Holocaust enough thought. I understand this, truly. It would be a terrible feeling, to know that one is living his life in a way that just about ignores the history of his People; to be dancing and playing and enjoying Chol Hamoed trips when a few short years ago his grandparents and their generation were shot and enslaved and treated in the most barbaric of ways. Yet, visiting these places is but another way of distancing oneself from the events; not making them more a part of him. The once in a lifetime visit is not going to make one feel better about forgetting the suffering.

    But I tell you- there is no need to feel guilt in this way if you remember the lessons of the Holocaust and the other persecutions always. There is no need to feel guilty of enjoying one’s life (properly). We are given a time to mourn each year, during Tisha B’av and the 3 weeks leading up to it- we are not to spend the rest of the year mourning. Mindfulness suffices for the other 49 weeks. Visiting a museum such as this is worth less than nothing. Pick up a book about the event instead, with pictures if it is more meaningful to you that way.



    i totally hear where your coming from, but dont you think that going to visit these places is in a sense telling the hitler y”s “ha ha, look. you tried wiping us all out and ridding the world of the most beautiful nation. and what are we doing now? thriving! and coming to pray by the graves of our anscestors who you THOUGHT you succeeded with!!!”

    thats the real reason why i want to go…


    I was on tour in Eastern Europe a few summers ago. Besides touring and davening at many Kivrei tzdikim, I went to the camps in Warsaw: Thereizenshtat, Treblinka, Dachau, Aushcwitz, Madenek.. I was exremely emotional that instead of crying I turned numb.. I couldn’t believe what I saw with my eyes no matter how much I’ve read about the holocaust in the past. If you are mature enough to handle the seriousness and intensity of the place where so many kedoshim were killed al kiddush Hashem then I think it really raises your spiritual self. It gave me a different outlook in life which I’m very grateful for! Go for it!

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