Tribe visits Polish wedding celebrations

By Jessica Elgot, June 10, 2010
Back in time: one of the Tribe group takes in the scene at Auschwitz

Back in time: one of the Tribe group takes in the scene at Auschwitz

Members of a Polish trip organised by Tribe, the United Synagogue youth arm, joined the wedding celebrations of a Krakow couple.

The 20 participants, led by Muswell Hill's Rabbi David Mason, hosted a Saturday night meal for David and Maria Szychowski, who married in the World Jewish Relief-supported community centre. The Szychowskis plan to make aliyah later this year.

Rabbi Mason said the connection to the wedding "added a wonderful extra dimension to our Poland experience", which included visits to Auschwitz and the Galicia Jewish Museum. On Shabbat, they held a service in the square by the 15th-century Alte Synagogue, the oldest in Poland, where they met 81-year-old survivor Bernard Vogel.

Now living in America, Mr Vogel had been in three concentration camps by the time he was 24. He was later forced to join the Russian Army and spent six months in a Siberian prison camp.

"Meeting Bernie was unbelievable," said Tribe member Loredana Tarantello, 26, a teacher at Hertsmere Jewish Primary. "We went to Auschwitz the following day and it had such a profound impact.

"He told us about revisiting the camp and looking at the hair and the shoes. He thought: 'Are these my sister's shoes? Was that my mother's ponytail?' It was heartbreaking. So when we visited, it had that meaning for us too.

"You come back with so many more questions than answers.

"I have been to the bookshop to buy the biggest book on the Holocaust I can find."

Last updated: 1:39pm, June 10 2010