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Tuesday - day of all kinds of emotions

Wednesday, 25 March, 2015 - 8:36 pm

Tuesday was one of the most pivotal days of not only the trip but possibly all of our lives. It brought us another long day ahead, for the right reasons though.

After an early breakfast at Chabad, we took a brief tour of the building with Chava. We saw the mikvah, library, lounges and learned about how the center came to be.

At the end of our tour, we were graced with the presence of the Israeli ambassador to Germany, Yakov Hadas-Handelsman. The entire group was amazed by his powerful speech about politics and we were truly lucky that he was able to take time out of his day to meet with future "ambassadors".

After we met with the ambassador, the tone of the day started to shift a bit as we drove to south West Berlin to Wannsee - the villa where the Nazis signed The Final Solution. This document was the plan that was implemented for the mass murder of all the Jews in Europe. It was a very real experience as we walked through the museum where just 70 years ago the nazi officers signed papers to end the Jewish people's existence in Europe.

Continuing on our journey, we drove to a memorial at a train station in Berlin. This train station is the oldest of its kind and it was the primary station where German Jews were transported to their deaths via train. A very large section of the tracks was a dedicated memorial where each part had an engraving of each train sent. Logged in metal engraving was the date, amount of Jews and their destination. We sat in silence as the reality of the history began to truly set in.

Following a brief lunch in a park in the Bavarian quarter of Berlin, the next time our bus stopped was outside of Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp in Orienburg. No one was sure what to feel from the time our group stepped off the bus. We had a tour guide but no one was able to find the words to say. It was a chilly and cloudy day, fittingly and the cameras began clicking instantly. Immediately upon entering the camp, we all felt our hearts drop and it was absolutely bone chilling. For a lot of us, it was our first time in a concentration camp. It was absolutely massive and emotions were flying. We saw barracks, remnants of gas chambers and a beautiful beyond words memorial to those who died. Tears, fear, grievance and hope filled the air.

One of the most touching things to happen on the trip occurred at the memorial at Sachsenhausen. We lit candles, wrapped teffillen, and sang the most amazing and heart warming rendition of "Am Yisroel Chai" as loud as we could. We walked out of the camp extremely proud, thankful and more knowledgable than before.

The day ended with packaging hundreds of pounds of food for the upcoming Pesach holiday. There are many families that need ingredients to make meals and don't have the finances to do so and ASB 2015 Berlin formed an assembly line and made the gift baskets happen. It was incredibly moving to be able to experience a full circle.

We saw where the genocide plan was originated, planned and executed. By packaging good after, the group was able to give to the Jewish community at large which is thriving in the very place where it was meant to be destroyed.

We are all extremely humbled, honored and blessed to have had this experience. Together we stand tall and with the knowledge we've obtained, we can make sure to do everything in our power to prevent this tragedy from ever happening again.

We are looking forward to seeing how the Jewish community in Berlin continues to thrive tomorrow. Am Yisroel Chai. Shalom,

-Micah Fishman 

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