Daily Archives: December 24, 2012


During nine months of 1942, more than 500,000 people were brutally murdered at Belzec, a death camp near Lublin, Poland. It's a place very few have heard of, and even fewer visit, as our group did on this snowy, windy Christmas Eve. What stands on the site now is a powerfully designed and curated memorial landscape and museum. Fellow traveler Paul Lake was born on Sept. 12, 1942, to a Jewish family in Philadelphia. It’s difficult for him, and all of us, to realize that had he been born in Warsaw, or anywhere in Nazi-occupied Europe, he likely wouldn’t be alive today. A retired businessman, Paul now volunteers at the Dallas Holocaust Museum. It was there he learned [...]

2012-12-24T22:20:24+00:00 December 24th, 2012|Human Rights in Poland 2012|


In Poland: At Chelmno, Hitler's first death camp, as many as 350,000 people were killed, many in vans that pumped in carbon monoxide from captured Soviet tanks. Sometimes during quiet moments I glimpse a shadowy blur. It’s gone as fast as it’s there. But it’s there. Occasionally what follows is a faint odor I now know well: the smell of death. At nearly every camp we visit, the smell still lingers, even 70 years after it operated as hell on earth, even if there’s a thick blanket of snow on the ground (but especially if there’s not a blanket of snow on the ground.) Am I seeing spirits? Maybe. Perhaps I’m just having sensory hallucinations. Either way, this [...]

2012-12-26T15:22:04+00:00 December 24th, 2012|Human Rights in Poland 2012|