Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Goodbye- Ashley Scully

Friday March 15, 2013

Today is our last day in Poland. I cannot believe how quickly the week went by. When I look back, I am amazed how much I have grown intellectually and spiritually. I realized over the past few days that I want to continue my education in the Shoah studies. I feel there is much more to learn—I have new questions that need to be answered. One important question I can answer now is what the Shoah means to me.

In my eyes, the Shoah was not only a rift in the history of the Jewish people but also a rift in human history. There are wounds that still need to be healed and/or strengthened such as Jewish-Christian relations. Looking back, this was a unique trip because as I am learning Memory and Reconciliation: The Churches and the Holocaust, the Vatican elects a new pope. I realized that in the post-Shoah world, new leaders will emerge in Christianity and Judaism. It is essential that they continue to strengthen Jewish-Christian relations and that they ask themselves what the Shoah means to Judaism and to Christianity. I also realized that as a Catholic, I have a responsibility to help strengthen Jewish-Christian relations as well. This responsibility should not be left up to religious leaders, but shared with the people of faith as well.

It is important to note that the meaning of the Shoah will differ for everyone, especially future generations who will no longer have a direct family and/or memory to the Holocaust. It is important to be mindful of the different experiences that future generations will have when they learn about the Shoah. In some ways, there will be challenges in teaching to future generations about an atrocity that no longer has living survivors to share their personal experiences. Also, there are artifacts on display now that will not be on display in the future because of preservation reasons such as the collection of hair that belonged to Jewish prisoners. 
The hair of Jews who passed away in Auschwitz. Most of the hair contains the chemical
Cyclone B used in the gas chambers.
Therefore, students today should visit Auschwitz soon so generations tomorrow can have that direct memory and learn about these artifacts and personal stories of survivors from us.
When I leave Poland, I will leave a piece of my heart behind. In the future, I will come back and bring my family and friends so they can witness Auschwitz. I want them to go on a similar educational and spiritual journey I went through during my stay in Poland. When I come home, I will continue educating others about Jewish life before, during, and after the Shoah. It is important for me to continue the Jewish-Christian dialogue and to spread awareness about my experiences in Poland. I highly recommend this trip for all Iona students—this is one trip you will never forget. Thank you Dr. Elena Procario-Foley!

Our last day spent in Krakow's market square!


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