Tag Archives: Poland

To Poland

I’m writing from Krakow. Within many living memories, such as those that go back to the 1930s, or my own that includes decades of Cold War and “Warsaw Pact,” Poland was a place far away, far from mind, far from connection, far from relevance.  Today it’s pretty close, in each of those ways. I was part of a group that left JFK airport last night around 10:30, landed today in Warsaw, made (barely) our short flight to Krakow, took a bus into this gorgeous city, and reached hotel rooms in less than twelve hours total.

I’m here for the International March of the Living tomorrow, which is Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), and for related events and learning. And all of the topics that are contained in Poland-history-War-Holocaust-remembrance are properly on many minds, connected to our lives, relevant to our times, and proximate.

Our sendoff event last night in New York was dinner with speakers who made these points, and who stand for them. Elly Berkovits Gross, a Holocaust survivor, told us of the miracles that saved her. Kenneth Jacobson, Deputy National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, spoke analytically of anti-Semitism, its history, and some of its current manifestations. Raymond Fishler, born near Krakow and also a Holocaust survivor, shared his story of loss, life and hope.

You can learn from each of these educators by clicking the hotlinks above, and from their books, films, and other online materials. They, and all that they have to teach, are as close by as, well, Poland.

To Poland, to Auschwitz, for the International March of the Living

I will be in Poland later this week.

On Thursday, I will participate in the International March of the Living. It is a Holocaust education and commemoration program that, each year, organizes and assembles over 10,000 people in Poland. They include Holocaust survivors, younger adults, and many students. Many are Jews and many are non-Jews. The International March of the Living occurs at Auschwitz on Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day). Marchers cover about two kilometers, walking from Auschwitz I, site of the original Nazi prison barracks and murder camp during World War II, to the much larger Auschwitz II (Birkenau) Nazi slave labor prison camp and extermination site. The March concludes in Birkenau with a ceremony of remembrance.

On Friday, I will attend and speak at a related conference, primarily for U.S. lawyers and judges, that will be held in Krakow.

I have seen Auschwitz on two previous trips—one to participate in the International March of the Living in 2016. I know from those experiences, including sights and conversations, that it all is something that I struggle, as every person does or should, to comprehend. I also know that Auschwitz and other Nazi-related sites are things that students and others ask me, often, to describe.

My words can’t meet this challenge. But I do plan this week to blog some things here, and also to tweet (@JohnQBarrett). If this is of interest, look for my writing in those places.

Jackson List: March of the Living’s Nuremberg symposium, and the March

March of the Living, an annual international educational program, will host two notable events in Poland this week.

On Wednesday, May 4th, Jagiellonian University in Krakow will be the site of an international symposium, “The Double Entendre of Nuremberg:  The Nuremberg of Hate & the Nuremberg of Justice.”

  • This symposium will consider two “Nuremberg” events of historical, contemporary, and permanent significance:  Nazi Germany’s imposition, eighty years ago, of inhumane, vicious, anti-Semitic Nuremberg  Laws, and the international Nuremberg trial, during 1945-1946, seventy years ago, of the principal Nazi war criminals.
  • The symposium, presented by March of the Living International, the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, and Jagiellonian University and co-chaired by Professors Irwin Cotler (Canada) and Alan Dershowitz (United States), will be a full-day program of expert speakers from around the world.
  • For full symposium program information, click here.

On Thursday, May 5th, which will be Holocaust Memorial Day (Yom HaShoah), thousands will march silently from Auschwitz to Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration, slave labor, and extermination camp complex of World War II.  For more information on the March, click here.

I will be participating in and learning from each of these important events.  And I thank you for your interest.

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This post was emailed to the Jackson List, a private but entirely non-selective email list that reaches many thousands of subscribers around the world.  I write to it periodically about Justice Robert H. Jackson, the Supreme Court, Nuremberg and related topics.  The Jackson List archive site is http://thejacksonlist.com/.  To subscribe, email me at barrettj@stjohns.edu.  Thank you for your interest, and for spreading the word.