Facing Nazi Atrocities, Teachers Trace Path From Warsaw To Treblinka

Photo: Lev Gringauz – TC Jewfolk

This blog was written on JCRC’s Power of Place educators institute in Europe – an experiential professional development for teachers where learning unfolds as they tour historical sites across Europe in order to transform their understanding of the Holocaust, WWII, antisemitism, and Jewish life today. Power of Place is planned and co-led by Humanus Network on behalf of JCRC and generously supported by the Minnesota Vikings, the Tankenoff Families Foundation, and Allianz of America Corporation.

by Lev Gringauz in TC Jewfolk | June 24, 2024

TREBLINKA, Poland — In 1998, after visiting the Treblinka death camp site on a Holocaust education trip to Poland for teachers, Aimee Ross vowed she would never come again.

“I knew enough about it to know how horrifying the property was…as I was walking around, it felt so eerie to me,” Ross said.

Aimee Ross (wearing blue, on left) on a day trip with the JCRC group to the small Polish town of Czyzew (Lev Gringauz/TC Jewfolk)

The Treblinka visit was at the end of an intense week, where Ross and her group of roughly 50 other teachers had also visited Auschwitz and Majdanek. Walking around the Treblinka memorial — a clearing in the woods with jagged rocks sticking out of cement, with the names of murdered Jewish communities listed on larger stones — Ross was exhausted.

She was struck by the fact that while Auschwitz and Majdanek were preserved as museums, Treblinka had been completely destroyed by the Nazis to hide the evidence of mass murder. As a result, to Ross, the land held much more unrest.

“I was very much missing my two daughters, who were four and six,” she said. “But I just remember [feeling like] I don’t really need to walk around very much here. I get it. I see what the jagged rocks are and what the memorial is about.”

But almost 26 years later, this past Wednesday, Ross proved herself wrong: She did come back to Treblinka, this time with 15 other teachers on the Power of Place trip run by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas.

Keep reading on TC Jewfolk.


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