Poland Trip Spring 2018


“I always wondered if I would ever have the chance to travel to Poland to live first-hand the memories of both the beauty of its thousand years of Jewish life, as well as the ensuing crushing nightmare of the Holocaust.  This incredible Poland trip created an enduring bond with my Judaism as well as a deeper understanding of why Israel is so central to that bond.  Jeff Seidel puts a lifetime of effort into making these trips happen, and Hazy Flint is a guide of such passion that you cannot help but become one with the experience. We can not stand every day in front of Birkenau’s gas chambers, Majdanek’s shoes, or Treblinka’s silent stone pillars, but we can elevate the departed souls daily by living lives filled with Torah, loving kindness, and the knowledge of the enduring spirit that is our Jewish soul. “

E.A, Jerusalem

“My experience was much more than I could have ever imagined. Sitting in the Ben-Gurion airport on that first night, I was a little hesitant to embark on this journey with a group of not only friends but also strangers. Looking back, I would never experience this trip with anyone else. Each member of the group added something different. I think the variety of things we saw – Jewish ghettos, Jewish quarter in Krakow, the camps, the mass graves – was the perfect itinerary. I learned so much in only four days thanks to Hazy, Batsheva, Ezra, and everyone else on the trip. Each story, picture, song, etc. really helped me picture the Holocaust and emphasize with the 6 million Jews that perished in the Holocaust.


One of the most significant messages I took from this trip is a phrase that Hazy said to us countless times: abnormal emotions in the abnormal places. This line really stuck with me because I had never been an “emotional” person. While most people cry during sad movies, I never did. I was always a little closed off. I really did not know how I would react to horrible remnants of the Holocaust. Hazy’s words made me feel emotionally comfortable in probably the most uncomfortable place in the world. I felt like I could react in any way and just let myself feel.

“I spent a week in Poland on the Jeff Seidel Student Mission learning and experiencing the horrific truth of the Holocaust.

While I have learned about the Holocaust throughout my life nothing compares to this experience. Seeing the pits where innocent children were shot into, the barracks where thousands were forced to live in unbearable conditions, the crematoriums where bodies were burned, the gas chambers, and the land where 6 million Jews were killed.

We saw the faces of young children getting deported to Auschwitz, women holding their babies while being sent to gas chambers, silent and afraid. We saw thousands of suitcases, smaller than most of our weekend bags, labeled with names, dates, and once holding an individuals most precious items. We stared at the tiny shoes that were just a shoe amongst millions.

These shoes, suitcases, photos, are all that’s left of 6 million people, including 1.5 million children, whose lives were cut way too short and whose many stories remain unknown.

Each of these 6 million people had names, dreams and hopes. Just like us. But they were killed, solely because they were Jewish.

So many emotions arose over the trip: sadness from the loss of innocent lives, anger and disgust that a human could commit such horrors and be filled with such senseless hate, and pride, that despite all that we have faced, the Jewish people have a place to call our home. Myself, along with the 38 others on the trip, were able to leave the camps, and return to the State of Israel. The Jewish homeland.

My week in Poland has changed my outlook on life and what it means to be Jewish. I am sharing this because it is important to never forget the 6 million Jews who were killed in the Holocaust and the survivors who are no longer around to share their stories. It is now our responsibility to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself, to educate the future generations, and make sure their legacy’s and stories live on.”

A.S, Ryebrook, NY