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About Cherri Gann

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It’s Austere

From Sam W., a senior majoring in biology: There was frost on the willows at Stutthof. Treblinka was blanketed in white. Auschwitz-Birkenau hung heavy with mist and fog. It has just begun to snow at Majdanek. These places aren’t supposed to be pretty. They are supposed to be openings to some void, pits in both the earth and the human narrative.  But, somehow, they are beautiful? Lying beneath, or perhaps above, the wretched history of these sites are places, monuments, and nature so impeccably designed and borne that I dare call them idyllic. It seems so wrong, but these spaces are serene in an unsettling, paranormal way. The wind blew through Chelmno and her forests, the bells of nearby churches [...]

2018-01-10T10:44:44+00:00 January 1st, 2018|Human Rights in Poland (Winter 2017)|

It’s okay not to break

From Sam W., a senior majoring in biology: When I was thinking about coming to Poland with the Embrey Human Rights Program, I talked a lot to people who had gone before. For one friend, the trip changed her life, encouraging her to change her major and enter an entirely different field. For others, it shook and broke them, leaving them in week- or month-long periods of depression. The Poland trip was, and is, that heavy. I looked forward to this. I wanted to experience this seemingly mystical transformation. Now, the actor in me should have known that expectation is the enemy of experience – and at least so far, I can’t say that I felt the earth shatter. That [...]

2018-01-10T10:39:39+00:00 January 1st, 2018|Human Rights in Poland (Winter 2017)|

First They Came

From Lauren J., a junior studying biology and ethics: At the memorial presentation I made at the Gross-Rosen concentration camp site, I read the poem First They Came, by Martin Niemoller, a German Lutheran pastor who once supported Hitler but then began to oppose the Nazis. Niemoller was then arrested and sent to live in concentration camps. He lived in a concentration camp until it was liberated in 1945. Different versions of his poem exist, but his message is clear. The silence of the German people, particularly the heads of the Protestant churches, during the mass imprisonment and execution of the Jewish people, was wrongful. First They Came First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I [...]

2018-01-10T10:18:23+00:00 January 1st, 2018|Human Rights in Poland (Winter 2017)|

Mourning at Majdanek

From Lauren J., a junior studying biology and ethics: On December 23, we visited the museum of the concentration camp Majdanek. When we toured the gas chambers, we could see the façade that the Nazis attempted to maintain. The Jews were told that they were going to take a shower, but in reality, they were being ushered towards their death. One room had shower heads and bath tubs, but the next room had openings in the ceiling where Zyklon B was dropped and vaporized into a gas that killed those who were trapped within the room. This sign - Bad und Desinfeklion - indicated that the building was for baths and disinfection. It wasn't. Seeing the blue stains [...]

2018-01-10T10:04:28+00:00 January 1st, 2018|Human Rights in Poland (Winter 2017)|

Memorial at Gross-Rosen

An update from Angela W., a senior studying biochemistry and human rights: On December 28, the second to last day of the 2017 Embrey Human Rights Holocaust Poland trip, we visited Gross-Rosen, a concentration camp located near the southwestern part of the country where Jewish prisoners were worked to death in a granite quarry. It’s unnerving to visit these places because they definitely remind you how consumerism has a human cost. Seeing the massive pit where Jewish men were forced to lug massive rocks despite massive malnutrition, and zero workers comp, really reminded me of the coltan mines in current day Democratic Republic of the Congo, or even the shrimp fisheries in Thailand. In Gross-Rosen, the granite was used to [...]

2018-01-19T11:24:14+00:00 December 31st, 2017|Human Rights in Poland (Winter 2017)|

Memorial at Palmiry

An update from Hunter K., a sophomore studying human rights, Spanish and pre-law: These words are from our memorial presentation at the Palmiry National Memorial Museum, located near Warsaw: The most powerful thing I’ve heard on this trip was a quote from one of the survivors in the last few minutes of the documentary we saw at Gross-Rosen. He said, “I forgive my torturers for the pain they caused me, but I can never forget. I can forgive, and I hope they rest in peace. "You have hurt, you have injured, you have wronged, and you will suffer the consequences—but, despite all that, I accept you." Tonight, we leave this place. For many of us, it may be years before [...]

2018-02-07T09:12:46+00:00 December 29th, 2017|Human Rights in Poland (Winter 2017)|

Camp Experiences

From Bret A., a junior majoring in psychology: Wolf's Lair At the Wolf's Lair it was very impressive how the bunkers held up over the years, even though the Nazi's tried their hardest to destroy it. I guess that says something about the quality of German engineering. Even though it was a place of evil people, it didn't have the same unsettling aura of Stutthof. I guess that says something about the tainting stain of death. Warsaw is a very beautiful city, much more than Gdansk in my opinion.     Majdanek Majdanek was the most horrific, most impactful place we went to in my opinion. Unlike many of the other sites of mass murder, the Nazi's didn't try to hide [...]

2018-01-11T10:27:39+00:00 December 28th, 2017|Human Rights in Poland (Winter 2017)|

Majdanek

From MacKenzie J., a senior majoring in human rights and international studies: The horrors of what happened at Majdanek will forever be etched in my memory. As we travel through Poland, we are fighting to honor the millions who were murdered under the hands of Hitler and the Nazis. We walk the roads, we enter the former barracks, we see the remnants of Zyklon B-the chemical used to gas tens of thousands of Jews on the walls, the gas chambers, the small beds, thousands of shoes with no owner, and unmarked graves. A letter from Emilian Kowcz, a Greek Catholic priest who was murdered at Majdanek. The routes we travel, the roads we walk, how can we honor [...]

2018-01-11T10:51:09+00:00 December 27th, 2017|Human Rights in Poland (Winter 2017)|

No Respite from the Cold

The road between two barracks in the main camp of the Auschwitz complex From Ryan C., a political science/international studies major: During each visit to a concentration camp, our guides explain the extreme living conditions imposed by the Nazis upon their victims. The Jews and other "undesirable" groups of people held in these camps faced a litany of abuse, including insufficient protection from the elements. Although the Nazis were intensely cruel in infinite ways, one especially bothersome aspect is their system of forcing the Jews and other victims to be exposed to the cold without relief, for months on end. Their shoddy clothes, ill-fitting shoes, and meager blankets added yet another form of torture to life in [...]

2018-01-09T14:20:05+00:00 December 26th, 2017|Human Rights in Poland (Winter 2017)|
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