This past week has been absolutely amazing and extremely enlightening. Some highlights were getting to tour the presidential palace, speaking with a righteous among the nations, and visiting sites of pogroms.
Before getting into more heavy topics I want to talk about visiting the presidential palace. Getting the chance to visit the presidential palace in Poland was absolutely fantastic and fascinating! It was definitely one of my favorite experiences so far and it brought me so much joy to be there; my political science heart was ready to burst! What made that experience even better was meeting with Pani Irena Senderska-Rzońca. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience to hear her story and to think that she was as brave as she was at such a young age is truly admirable and something all should strive for. To think that soon all of the survivors and rescuers will soon not be around is greatly saddening. Knowing this also makes me that much more greatful for this experience and makes it feel like a personal responsibility to share these stories.
Visiting the sites of the pogroms was difficult as one could imagine. Seeing the sites in person was enlightening, because it sheds light on the antisemitic beliefs that are still present, not just in Poland, but around the world. Our readings have discussed the reasoning behind these actions and it can be difficult to try to see perspective of the perpetrators. As horrifying as the pogroms were, it is Being made clear why they happened and how something like them could happen again anywhere. The situational pressures were so intense it’s hard to imagine. It’s my hope that we can all be a bit more like Pani Irena and learn from history.