By Sondra S. Ettlinger
Sunday’s Highlight: Today was the first day of our excursion now that all attendants have arrived. We visited the Jewish Community Center this morning and learned a lot about the current relationship between the Polish and Jewish residents. This was followed by a long walk through the old town with a lunch of outstanding beet borscht. Cobblestones certainly hurt your feet when you walk on them for a couple of hours.
The highlight of the day was our visit to the Emanuel Jewish Historical Institute.
As the War in Poland was winding to an end and the Jews had been gathered into the Warsaw Ghetto, it was important to those who were left to leave their story for the future in order to offset the propaganda that was being generated by the victors. Aryan looking young girls (blonde and blue eyed) were able to leave the ghetto and wander freely in the city. They were invaluable in being able to interview and document what was really happening. Ten large tins, and three milk canisters were filled with the writings and buried. Then the Germans blew up 90% of Warsaw and the ghetto and its secret storage area was covered in rubble. Years passed, and water seeped into the tins, but the mail canisters fared better. Modern technology allowed the remnants to be preserved and (mostly) reconstructed so the true story could again be told. We visited the museum that tells the story. It was compelling to say the least.