Photos: Grandchildren of Holocaust Survivors Light Menorah in Auschwitz

>>Follow Matzav On Whatsapp!<<

Deena, Noa and Rachel, college students and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, were three of 70 participants on LivingLinks, Chabad on Campus International’s first heritage trip to Poland. In a trip filled with emotional and poignant moments, the most riveting was when they lit the first candle of Chanukah in Auschwitz lI-Birkenau concentration camp.

Students from dozens of colleges across North America spent six days in Poland, bearing witness to the death camps, mass graves, labor camps and ghettos, the resting place for millions of Jews who were murdered al kiddush Hashem. The students also got a glimpse of the vibrant Jewish life that once thrived in Poland.

Rabbi YY Jacobson, the spiritual mentor for the trip, helped students channel the anger and pain felt by the trips participants towards a commitment to Judaism. As the menorah was being lit where over a million Jews were once killed, Rabbi Jacobson implored them, “Dear students, in the darkest and cruelest of places, we continued to kindle torches of goodness and holiness. Now, in times of freedom and prosperity, will we allow our flames of Yiddishkeit to be extinguished?”

From the feedback of participants, it was clear that Rabbi Jacobson’s message resonated, as Ilana Sperling, a student at the University of Florida put it, “Today we are angry, tomorrow we will be angry again. We will take that anger and use it to form something positive.” Andres Schwarz,also from UF, posted on social media “Now more than ever, I am incredibly proud to be a Jew. Am Yisroel Chai.

In an emotional post on Facebook, Dan Bleykhman, a student at the University of Virginia wrote “To say it is not personal will be the biggest lie ever. This is very personal, whether you know a victim or not. I always thought my last name was a rarity, when in fact it turns out that there were once many Bleykhman’s or Bleikhman’s. To think that I once wanted to change my last name to Blakeman is shameful. I will forever be proud of my name. I will forever be proud of who I am. And I will forever be proud of being a Jew.”

“This pilot trip to Poland was a special opportunity for our students to journey through our history, connecting our devastating past, with a bright, vibrant present and future,“ said Rabbi Yossy Gordon, Executive Vice President of Chabad on Campus International. “They witnessed the incomprehensible destruction our people suffered and understand that we have persevered despite it all. The students returned home with  a renewed commitment to their Jewish identity, inspired to be part of the future of our people.”

“Poland was the home to many early chassidic courts and the students were able to experience Poland’s rich Jewish history,” said Rabbi Yossi Witkes, who directs LivingLinks and IsraeLinks for Chabad on Campus International. “Standing on the sacred ground where millions of our people were systematically and brutally murdered invokes a wide range of emotions. For many students, this was an inspiring catalyst, empowering and uplifting them to embrace their heritage, be proud of their identity and keep the flame of Judaism alive.”

img_0065 img_0068 img_0252 img_0291 img_0359 img_0583 img_0590 img_0749 img_0782 img_0856 img_1019 img_1057 img_1074 img_1075 img_1076 img_1096 img_1133 img_1134 img_1223 img_1268 img_1291 img_1328 img_1329 img_1444 img_1599 img_1697 img_1742 img_1806 img_1810 img_1813 img_1876 img_1913 img_1958 img_2008 img_2032 img_2083 img_2084 img_2086 img_2189 img_2220 img_2249 img_2336 img_2374 img_2408 img_2461 img_2462 img_2486 img_2487 img_2531 img_2582 img_2619 img_2625 img_2676 img_2687 img_2695 img_2724 img_2757 img_2758 img_2759 img_2760 img_2761 img_2859 img_2877 img_2961 img_2965 img_2973 img_2975 img_3166 img_3187 img_3261 img_3263 img_3284 img_3318 img_3321 img_3416



  1. Wow!
    This is one of the most imposing pictorial essays in recent times!
    It brought me to הרהור תשובה: I’m certain that the students were also brought likewise to thoughts of repentance. May they (and me) be zoche that it lasts!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here