Sunday, May 26, 2013

Day 12 - Schindler Museum

Saturday May 25th Day 12

Today we took a step into Hollywood, well actually history. We went to the Oskar Schindler Museum. This was my favorite museum thus far on the trip; first because of its chronological flow, second because the museum was set up in such a way that we became part of the story, and third because of the sassy British couple that wouldn’t leave us alone adding some comic relief amongst our group later in the day. We began our tour reminiscing the good times had in Poland in August 1939. Then, we saw Poland’s culture, land, and freedom stripped from the Poles partially by Nazi Germany (to the west) and by communistic USSR (to the east). The tour continued by displaying the methodical progression the Nazi’s took in order to change the lifestyle of the Jewish community and the thought of Jews among a nation. Nazi propaganda parades were held, laws were passed, ghettos were formed, camps began to crowd, and then generations were lost. Specifically, Poland lost 3,000,000 Jews and 6,000,000 people (Poland has had a very hard time since the war because they believe they were the main victims of the World War II). However, there are many stories of hope during this heinous period.  The tour culminated with Oskar Schindler’s story. If you’ve seen Schindler’s List prepare yourself! We walked the staircase from the movie, walked around his office, listened to testimonials from some of the people Schindler saved, read Schindler’s “list”, and touched the actual map of Europe that hung behind his desk just to list a few. The tour ended in the Room of Thought. The exhibition was laid out to make you question how you would have acted during this period. Would you have saved a Jew, turned your neighbors into the Nazis, join the Nazi Party, or would you have joined the Polish Resistance? These questions are very hard to answer and hopefully we will never actually find the answer.
            After some free time and a lot of shopping, the group gathered for a discussion of what we saw in Krakow. Krakow did a number on us for sure. Our main focus of this meeting was Auschwitz, The Schindler Museum, and Primo Levi’s poem. Generally we all felt the same way about what we saw; however, as a group, what really stuck with us was the public bathroom POLICY in Europe. I can easily say we dislike with a passion, because hate is a strong word, paying to go to the bathroom in Europe. Please, when you see your kids DON’T ASK ABOUT THE BATHROOM SITUATION IN EUROPE.
            To end the emotional trip in Krakow, the group, Professor Paces, Professor Rosa, and our lovely guide throughout Poland, Alicja, went to a bar for drinks, and we went to what could be described as a cave for karaoke. I’ve actually said too much about that night so I’m going to just end this blog right here with a period.
Warren Jagger

P.S. TCNJ loves Krakow!

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