Over the past week, students in the HST 270 (The Rise and Fall of Hitler) class went on their study tour to Oswiecim and Krakow in Poland. The trip was full of information about WWII and what life in Poland was like during the war.
On Monday morning, students visited Auschwitz on a guided tour through exhibits about the concentration camp constructed in the former barracks. After a break for lunch, the group then went to Auschwitz-Birkenau for another tour walking around the remains of the camp. One guide gave both tours and emphasized the importance of honoring the people who died there and how future generations need to be educated about the Holocaust so that another doesn’t happen.
On Tuesday, the students gathered in the hotel conference room for the screening of Schindler’s List. The Spielberg movie focuses on Oskar Schindler, a man who saved over 1,000 Jews during the Holocaust. Even though this movie is brutal and emotional, it was a very accurate depiction of what happened over 70 years ago. The students spent the next day visiting the sites where the movie was filmed, as well as the ghettos and Schindler’s factory museum. One of the larger exhibits in the museum was a structure of pots and pans that the Jewish employees made during their time employed by Schindler. This was a great place to pay tribute to those who survived but also those who died.
On Thursday afternoon, the students had the opportunity to meet a concentration camp survivor, a woman named Lidia Maksymowicz who was in Auschwitz as a child. Maksymowicz described her time in the camp and how the experience shaped who she became. She also talked about how it is important for her to tell her story to further educate people.
While on the study tour, students also visited the old town of Krakow, the Wielicka salt mine, and different churches including the St. Mary's Church and Black Madonna Sanctuary. They attended a Jewish dinner accompanied by traditional Jewish music.
To wrap up the trip, students visited the Ogrodzieniec Castle on Saturday morning before departing for their various All-Saints break destinations.