By Davide Gole
When people think of Poland, things that often come to mind are the old country, a site of horror during the 1940s’, and Jewish ancestry. Although many of these stereotypes about Eastern Europe being old and having a lot of Jews may have applied to Poland over 70 years ago, today life in Poland is different.
Before the World War II, around 3.5 Million Jews lived peacefully in Poland, which made up more than 30% of the Polish Population. Today, only 8,000 Jews remain in Poland and the culture is all but lost. During the Holocaust, the Nazis built most of their death camps in Poland. Camps like Auschwitz and Treblinka still stand in an effort to never let anything like the holocaust ever happen on this planet again. While some landmarks in Poland that represent the history of its nation still stand, more modern day buildings are being erected.
After World War II, Polish cities such as Warsaw were nothing but rubble and half demolished buildings. Under the communist regime set up by the Soviet Union, who conquered Poland during the war, they began to rebuild their cities. To address the housing shortage, the Soviets built large housing projects, which gave them a Russian looking style. The historic sites such as streets, churches, and other buildings, were inscribed onto the World Heritage list and were restored. Today, the Capital City of Warsaw has a modern day skyline.
Which leads me to the point of writing this blog. Friday, I will be leaving for Poland as a part of an organization called Forum For Dialogue Among Nations, which is an organization supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland. On my trip I will help educate the Polish youth about tolerance and eradicating anti-Semitism to truly ensure the saying “Never Again.” While I am on my trip, I hope to make a difference in the mentality of the kids and I hope to learn more about the suffering that my ancestors lived through in the Holocaust. Now that I am 20 years old, I know I will be mature enough to absorb all the information and pay the respect to the family members I have lost.
I will be continually blogging from Poland so stay on the look out for my next update.