It didn’t take long for the details and questions of the Holocaust, which were constantly on our minds for eight days, to recede into the backdrop of our lives. We returned to classes and jobs, to roommates and families.
But there are still those moments when everything comes rushing back. Something simple—an article online, a picture saved on a phone, a dirty sock—can return us instantly.
Or maybe the question, “What was it like?” brings everything front and center again. Sometimes all we can muster is a simple, standard response—pointing out the obvious difficulty or defaulting to a humorous moment—as we try to stifle the images that begin to flash through our minds. We might choke back an unexpected swell of tears, because now just isn’t the time to feel everything all over again.
Other times, we can talk for hours, barely pausing to take a breath, thinking if we can remember every little detail, maybe we can give others just a hint of what they need to know. Because, as we learned, that’s the most important thing we can do—tell the stories.
Pilgrimage: Poland was a weeklong intensive travel experience, organized by the University of Richmond's Office of the Chaplaincy. Participants studied the roots of Judaism in Poland, how the Catholic nature of the company shaped the Jewish experience, and the lead up to and effects of the Holocaust on Poland and the Jewish community. Part of this exploration raised questions of responsibility, victimhood, and forgiveness.
My role was to document the trip, moment-to-moment, with photos, captions, and quotes from guest speakers and participants. Each day concluded with a longer post showing the continuing dialogue and learning experience for the participants.