By Mary Eshet
Judy LaPietra remembers the first time she visited Poland over 23 years ago and the impact seeing authentic sites of Holocaust memory had on her. “When standing on the hallowed ground of Auschwitz, words fail. It is a wound on humanity that cannot heal,” she said. A dozen trips later, including leading annual trips to Poland for UNCC students and working at the Auschwitz Museum Preservation Department on several projects, the Greenspon Center Associate Director is excited to be working with Director Judy Schindler to lead a nine-day journey to Poland for a small group from the Charlotte community. The trip is planned for June 10 – 19, 2024.
“We want to keep the group small enough to be intimate and conducive to sharing, so space is limited,” said LaPietra. “Now is the time to learn more and sign up for the trip.”
The trip will include visits to Warsaw, Lublin and Krakow, and will explore the rich history of the Jewish community in Poland, the tragedy of the Holocaust, and the current revitalization of the community. Prior to the Holocaust, Warsaw was home to more than 300,000 Jews. While today’s population is small in comparison with the prewar population, Warsaw comprises Poland’s largest Jewish community, and includes a JCC, Hillel, and a day school.
Highlights of the visit to Warsaw will include the rebuilt Old Town; the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews; the Umschlagplatz Monument, which commemorates the 300,000 Jews deported from the Warsaw Ghetto to Treblinka in 1942; and the Grzybowski Square vicinity, including the Nożyk synagogue, the only synagogue to survive the war.
In Krakow, the group will tour the Jewish quarter and take a study tour of both the Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps, in addition to sharing a Shabbat experience with the Krakow Jewish community. The itinerary also includes visits to the Treblinka and Majdanek camps.
In planning the trip’s itinerary, the Greenspon Center is partnering with the Taube Center for Jewish Life and Learning, which is dedicated to enriching Jewish life in Poland and to connecting Jews from around the world with their East European heritage.
In the world of Jewish travel, there is sightseeing, there are trips, and there are journeys. And then there are extraordinary experiences. Join Judy and Judy for an extraordinary experience as the Charlotte community journeys together through Jewish Poland’s complex past and explores its intriguing present.