Arriving with my wife in Warsaw, Poland. Thursday, April 28, 2011.
I have heard and thought of Poland all my life. My parents spent their childhood here until the Nazi invasion. My grandparents' families owned factories and real estate for many generations back.
When I was growing up in Israel, my parents always spoke in Polish to my grandparents. My grandparents read the Polish newspaper every day. I grew up on Jewish Polish cooking: Chicken soup with kreplach, Pierogi, Naleshniki (blinzes), Cakes and Tortes.
There was also a lot of sadness and anger in my house for what happened to the Jews there during the Nazi occupation and after the war. Many members of the extended family were killed in Treblinka and in other death camps, and all the family's belongings were looted.
For many years, my parents did not want to go back and visit. My grandparents never wanted to go back.
As you will see in the Lublin album, my mother's family went back to Lublin after the war, in 1945, but their house was taken over, and they could not rebuild their life there. They were strangers in their own city.
My father visited Warsaw only once, in the 90's, as the head of the mapping agency in Israel. He gave a lecture at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Polish. After a standing ovation and a red-carpet visit he felt that he had finally gained the respect that was taken away from him as a 12 year old boy.
This trip came about when my mother's assisted living organization in Tel-Aviv (Reuth) organized a trip for the survivors to participate in the March Of the Living 2011. The opportunity to tour Poland with my mother was an opportunity I could not resist.