I planted the seed of returning to my grandparents' birthplace in Poland in my Dad's head, a little over two years ago...as luck would have it, he surprised me a couple of months ago and asked if I would be interested in making that meaningful trip this summer....I jumped at the chance. Honestly, I never was that interested in visiting the place that tore my family to shreds, but since my grandparents, Elimelech and Regina Good z"l passed away, the need for seeing those places grew stronger. So now I am in the midst of packing for six days in Poland. Along with my parents, my two twin brothers are coming and I'm really looking forward to the unbelievable experience I know this will be.
I couldn't help but notice the irony in packing and booking a ticket to Poland. Some 75 years ago, my grandparents and their respective families had no way out of Eastern Europe. The lucky families who were able to escape, made their way furtively and under the darkness of night with just the clothes on their back. Now, in 2013, my dad consulted his travel agent (hi Elite!) for the best possible flight options and had to coordinate two separate parties departing from two different continents so we would meet in Poland around the same time. And my suitcase lies open on my bed as I try and figure out what to take with, what to leave behind, various clothing items going in, then coming out as I try to guess at the weather forecast in both Warsaw and Krakow while simultaneously paying attention to the current luggage restrictions.
I wonder what my grandparents would think of this all if they were still alive. I know my grandfather had no desire whatsoever to go back to the place that robbed him of his family, but I hope he understands the need that we all feel to stand there. To take over, in some way, for the generation of witnesses who are fewer in number as each year passes by. To stand where they cannot, for justice, for religious tolerance and for humanity.