About Cherri Gann



From Sana H. a senior majoring in business management: Visiting Treblinka, the largest extermination camp designed exclusively for murdering Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto, was one of the most chilling places I have ever visited. It is there where prisoners were gassed in a chamber through shower heads. Before entering the shower room to receive a “cleansing,” each prisoner was told they would be going to a work camp and to bring all of their valuables with them. Some 800,000 Jews did not know that they would lose their lives, families, and property. There are no words to describe how I felt while walking through the symbolic cemetery in Treblinka. The weather was harsh, my fingers were frozen, and [...]

2018-01-09T15:20:45+00:00 December 25th, 2017|Human Rights in Poland (Winter 2017)|

Shock, Horror and Shame

From Jasleen D., a senior studying environmental science and anthropology: The first camp we visited was Stutthof near Gdańsk, Poland. I didn’t have much of an idea on what to expect before I stepped in. Like Dr. Halperin had been saying since we started the trip, every site is different in not only their actions, but also their preservation. Stutthof is located in a remote location surrounded completely by forests. The barracks are perfectly reconstructed, as well as the gate where hundreds of thousands of Jews took their last steps. It was quiet and eerie. There was a sense of shock in the air, like "wow, I’m actually here… I’m actually standing in the same place I’ve read about in [...]

2018-01-09T15:00:18+00:00 December 25th, 2017|Human Rights in Poland (Winter 2017)|


From Malanna W. Treblinka. An hour and a half northeast of Warsaw, just under one million perished. A rough estimate, 800,000-900,000 innocent lives. There was something so powerful about those jagged stones in a sea of white. I felt like I was walking on clouds, angels light the way, a cobble stone path leading to heaven. The forest bore witness then and to my visit now. I keep reminding myself that the Earth never forgets. So yes, even if a tree falls in the forest, it still makes a sound because the Earth remembers. We can count on her for a testimony. But how much can she bear to see? How’s her health? She endures so much and we treat [...]

2018-01-19T14:18:05+00:00 December 25th, 2017|Human Rights in Poland (Winter 2017)|

Ashes and Bones

From Sam W., a senior majoring in biology: Last spring I was able to take a class in Forensic Anthropology.  I needed an Anthropology elective for my Health & Society degree, had always liked bones and CSI shows, and it fit into my schedule – boom, perfect fit. The class was fantastic, I sat next to my friends and loved the professor. It was mostly a breeze since I’d done anatomy before, and learning the types of fractures and decay patterns was so interesting. I didn’t think I’d be able to use what I learned. And then we went to Majdanek. The memorial at Majdanek is, as Dr. Halperin tells us, unlike anything else in the world. The mausoleum at [...]

2018-01-10T11:03:41+00:00 December 25th, 2017|Human Rights in Poland (Winter 2017)|


From Angela W., a senior studying biochemistry and human rights: In the Crepinski forest, maybe 20 minutes away from the inner city of Lublin, Poland, you can find a small, new memorial commemorating the death of some 30,000 Jews who were murdered by Nazis from 1940-45. Surrounding the memorial is a forest of towering trees, along with some scattered beer bottles, used condoms, and rubbish from parties held by locals. Surprisingly, the area that day was a huge improvement from before. According to Dr. Halperin, the area looked like a landfill just five years ago. Today, the area just looked beautiful, if you didn't look too hard in the tall grass. The memorial was a huge success both in keeping [...]

2018-01-19T10:48:13+00:00 December 25th, 2017|Human Rights in Poland (Winter 2017)|

Impressions at the Camps

From Carol R.: Stutthof Concentration Camp Stutthof was the first concentration camp to see in Germany. It was the first camp built and one of the last camps destroyed. It is so cold in every part of this camp and I cannot escape the idea of survival. I immediately begin thinking about how I would have or could have survived this horrific situation. By the end of the hours of being in the camp, I am not sure I would have survived.  Everything is cold, everything is wet and there is no way to escape this feeling. As a parent, I wonder if I could have survived the separation from my child, and I start to cry. Would I have [...]

2018-01-11T10:03:55+00:00 December 25th, 2017|Human Rights in Poland (Winter 2017)|

Robbed of Free Will

From Lauren J., a junior studying biology and ethics: The first concentration camp that our group visited was Stutthof. It was initially established as a civilian war prisoner camp and was then converted into a concentration camp in 1942. This was the first concentration camp to open in Poland. It eventually became an extermination camp in 1944. Although it was the first concentration camp to open in Poland, it was the last to be liberated. The Soviets finally liberated this camp's prisoners in 1945. As we began walking into the camp, our tour guide said something that has stuck with me throughout this trip - that we should be thankful that we can enter and leave this camp of our [...]

2018-01-10T09:29:08+00:00 December 25th, 2017|Human Rights in Poland (Winter 2017)|


From graduate student Martha Maddox: Wolf's Lair, Dec. 20 We arrived on the same road that Nazis took through the forest to the complex called the Wolf's Lair. This morning the forest was laden with still snow. Contrast the frozen trees full of life to the frozen lifeless, toppled cement blocks of the bunkers. Tree nuts on the ground in the snow promise new future birth; the cement blocks offered only secret, failed scheming and death. Breathing the air where did Hitler feels eerie. Note to self: What does the story of Hitler's missing the sound of the frogs tell us about him? His front men had put petrol in the swamps to rid the camp of mosquitoes. With the [...]

2018-01-11T09:29:43+00:00 December 25th, 2017|Human Rights in Poland (Winter 2017)|


Reflections from India S., a sophomore majoring in political science, human rights, international studies, and Arabic: Treblinka How is it possible to willingly kill and take the lives of hundreds of thousands of souls? Of living, breathing human beings. What is it that these murderers, these deprivers of human life are missing? Still. Everything is still. Stillness encases the whole area. It swallows the dark with tints of red, lumbering trees, and closes around each snow-frosted stone, each memorial. This is a cemetery, but a cemetery unlike any other. The stillness screams for justice, for relief. The cries of nearly a million wretched souls whose lives were bloodily ripped away from them. Stolen. Murder. Injustice. Inhumanity. Depravity. [...]

2018-01-03T15:37:27+00:00 December 24th, 2017|Human Rights in Poland (Winter 2017)|
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