I returned last night from a two week journey to Germany and Poland with a delegation of Holocaust educators. While four of the seven camps we visited were specifically identified as death camps, every concentration camp had dehumanization and death as its ultimate goal. We explored the shtetl of Tykochin and then the forest where within two days every Jewish villager from there was shot. We spent time at countless museums, memorials, ghettoes, and gathering places where Nazi crimes were devised and perpetrated. While it will take me years to unpack the lessons I learned and hope to share through the work of our Center, below is our final Kaddish reflecting on the sights with which we connected. (The Kaddish is the prayer Jews recite in memory of those who have died.)
Yitgadal – Auschwitz
V’yitkadash – Birkenau
Sh’mei rabah – Belzec
B’al’ma di v’ra chir’utei – Bergen Belsen
V’yamlich malchutei – Sachsenhausen
B’chayeichon u’vyomeichon – Ravensbruck
Uv’chayei d’chol beit Yisrael – Treblinka
Ba’agala uviz’man kariv v’imru:
Y’hei sh’mei raba m’varach l’alam ul’al’mei al’maya.
Yit’barach – Hanover
V’yish’tabach – Berlin
V’yit’pa’ar – Krakow
V’yitromam – Majdanek
V’yitnasay – Lublin
V’yit’hadar – Tykocin
V’yitaleh – Warsaw
V’yithalal sh’mei d’kudshah
L’eila min kol ber’chata – yeshivas
v’shirata – orphanages
toosh’b’chatah – the partisans
v’nechematah – the righteous among the nations
da’ameeran b’almah v’imru:
Y’hei sh’lama raba – relatives
Min sh’maya – our survivors’ families
V’chayim aleinu – the children
V’al kol Yisrael. vimru. Amen.
Oseh shalom bimromahv
Hu yaaseh shalom aleinu v’al kol Yisrael v’imru. Amen
May God’s great Name be exalted and sanctified. Amen.
In the world that God created as God willed.
May God reign in God’s kingship in your lifetimes and in your days
And in the lifetime of the entire family of Israel swiftly and soon. Amen.
May God’s great Name be blessed forever and ever.
Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled, mighty, upraised, and
lauded be the Name of the Holy One, Blessed is God
Beyond any blessing and song,
Praise and consolation that are uttered in the world. Now say: Amen.
May there be abundant peace from Heaven
and life upon us and upon all Israel. Amen.
May the One who makes peace in the heavens above
cause peace to descend upon us, upon all Israel
and upon the entire world and we say: Amen.
[Photos by Jon Boyle]