MDA teens return from Poland ‘changed’

The memories from the visit will remain with them for the rest of their lives, the MDA youth delegation members said.

Magen David Adom ambulances 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Magen David Adom ambulances 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A delegation of 15 teens who volunteer for Magen David Adom said they returned from the eight-day trip to Poland determined to “remember what hate and prejudice can do.”
The youth delegation went to Poland late last month to remember the Holocaust and visit sites of Jewish significance.
“We are representing the lifesaving MDA on the ground on which millions were murdered. This is a genuine mission,” the volunteers said upon their recent return home.
Along with other Israeli high-school-age groups in Poland before Holocaust Remembrance Day, which will be marked on Thursday, the MDA teens said they were moved to tears as they heard stories of courage by survivors and by non-Jews who saved Jews during the Nazi era.
Daniella Lock of the Ayalon chapter of MDA youth, said she was proud to “stand on the cursed soil of Poland wearing an MDA uniform that represents the good in humanity. This is the real victory against evil,” she said. “We joined a state delegation of the Education Ministry and visited [former] Jewish quarters, ghettos, synagogues, cemeteries and murder sites in forests.”
The group also visited the former concentration camps and ghettos in Birkenau, Lublin, Majdanek, Treblinka, Krakow, Belzec and Auschwitz. The delegations raised the Israeli and MDA flags at ceremonies and sang “Hatikva.”
The memories from the visit will remain with them for the rest of their lives, the MDA youth delegation members said.
“We just remember what hate and prejudice can do. We must not forget what happened to our people, remember that we have no other country and to return from Poland as better people,” said Lock.
Nadav Greenberg, an MDA volunteer from the Lachish region, said that he intends to be a “witness” to what he saw and heard in Poland and tell others.
“We will tell our friends, our family and our [future] children. If not, there is nobody else to remember. It is our responsibility 70 years after the Holocaust. And we have returned as Jews to the soil of Poland with the Israeli flag and the symbol of MDA in our hands and on our shirts to prove that there are Jews, that the Jewish people are alive and well and will exist for a thousand generations in the Jewish state, the State of Israel, which will not let these [terrible] things happen again.”
“Hearing about the Holocaust from testimony, watching films and looking at photos can’t be compared to actually seeing” what remains in Poland, said Helli Kosionovsky of Youth MDA-Carmel.
“This visit changed me. It isn’t just saying that the soil of Poland is completely cursed and full of death, blood and the screams of people whose only sin was to be Jewish... Some members of my family were among those murdered in cold blood. Today I stand here to prove that those who tried to wipe us out did not succeed.”
MDA director Eli Bin said that his organization has sent the youth delegation to Poland for several years and found it of vital importance for educational and symbolic reasons.
“What our young people saw in Poland reflects only a tiny bit of the reality of the Jews who lived there, and it can’t be described in words,” he said. “So we must remember that thanks to the survivors, we have the right to life. We will never forget what happened there. Our delegation returned much more appreciative of what we have, our country and our freedom for life.”