Sunday, April 13, 2014

Day 9 Trsice


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Our day began with a short drive to Trsice. What a surprise greeted us as we walked to the Trsice City Hall from our bus when we saw a new historical marker for a five stop walking tour of the history here connected to the diary of Otto Wolf.  This trail takes people to the two memorials that we dedicated here in 2012 and 2013, as well as the Trsice history museum, the memorial at Zakrov to Otto and the 19 men killed here in April of 1945, and the cemetery where some of the rescuers are buried.



We were greeted in a traditional welcoming ceremony at the city hall which consisted of tearing off a piece of bread and dipping it into a bowl of salt before eating.  

We were ushered into the meeting room and introductions were made. The mayor of Trsice, Mrs. Leona Stejskalova, surprised us with her story of visiting Yad Vashem in Israel with 7 other mayors from the Olomouc area. Our friend, Dr. Karel Brezina told his memories as a child during the war, witnessing the Wolf family entering and exiting the hideouts along with the story of the Wolf family in Trsice.  Mrs. Zdenka Calabkova, the young daughter of Marie and Oldrich Ohera who helped hide the Wolf family in their home and who we call Mrs. Ohera, was not able to join us here because she is recovering from hip surgery.
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We boarded the bus and walked through the forest to visit our memorial, dedicated in 2012 to Otto and his family, who hid here in the forest for three long years.  A local sponsor of the new Otto Wolf Trail, the Jezdecky Areal Trsice, a new horse stable with a bed and breakfast with a restaurant located in between Zakrov and Trsice, hosted a delicious lunch for our students, the mayor, her assistant and the local Boy Scouts and their leader.  After our tour of the lovely horse stables, we went to the memorial we dedicated last year to the rescuers who helped the Wolfs while in hiding.  

Our final stop in the area was at the memorial at Zakrov, where we were fortunate to find Mrs. Ohera, whose father and uncle were killed along with Otto Wolf.  To our surprise, Mrs. Ohera was out walking for physical therapy and gave us big hugs before posing for pictures.

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After a two hour bus ride, we arrived in Oswiecim, at The International Youth Meeting Centre in Oswiecim/Auschwitz, where we ate dinner and learned more about this place.  Established in 1986 in a cooperative effort between Germany and Poland to use the history of the Holocaust, educators host seminars to increase understanding about issues of prejudice.  We are the only guests staying in a house with a living room, kitchen and multiple rooms.  As we type the blogs, they are in the loft outside their rooms upstairs laughing, talking and relaxing.  Soon we will sleep and prepare for our intense day tomorrow at Auschwitz and Birkenau.

8 comments:

  1. It is so wonderful that the memorials you dedicated in 2012 and 2013 are now an official part of Otto Wolf's history in 2014! The photos of the new horse stables are beautiful! How lucky to meet Mrs. Ohera in Zakrov; you might say it was "bashert," (meant to be!)

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  2. I love seeing how far the dedication and remembrance of Otto Wolf's story has come, all of the markers and maps look beautiful!!!!

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  3. It is amazing to see the story about Otto Wolf come to life. Reading the diaries in class doesn't even compare to actually seeing the memorial. I can't wait to see the blogs about Auschwitz and Birkenau tomorrow.

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  4. It's amazing to see how much the area has changed and improved in reference towards the memorial. It's great to see that Trisice has added signs to commemorate and add notice to the important memorial.

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  5. It is great to see how far the memorial has come, and how much recognition it has gotten throughout the years is AWESOME. The markers and maps are beautiful! Can't wait to see what you all post about Auschwitz tomorrow!

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  6. I remember this was one of the days I really enjoyed of the trip last year. I felt so privileged to be able to be a part of the reveal of the memorial with all the townspeople. It is also great to see that the memorial is taken care of! It also looks as if everyone was really intrigued by the hideout of Otto Wolf and his family, as I had been when I went. It was so hard to imagine people living in a hole underground for any length of time. It is also nice to see that you all have kept in touch with the boy scouts. I hope everyone is having a great time and learning a lot!

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  7. Your blog posts have been tremendous. I look forward to continuing to learn with all of you, especially as your pilgrimage continues to Auschwitz and Birkenau. May you all rest and care for one another well.

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  8. Prior to the Holocaust Trip, Mrs. Tambuscio held her annual trip to Washington D.C. with students of New Milford High School to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. A truly unparalleled experience was when we were brought into the basement of the museum and an employee of the museum showed us Otto Wolf's real diary. One of the more common diaries of the Holocaust is the diary of Anne Frank, but the story of Otto Wolf is a truly remarkable account of a family whose fate was heavily determined by the actions of an entire community. In old literature, the forest often represented the unknown and the source of all evil due to lack of exploration. The Wolf family knew they would have to venture into the unknown, but they decided to write their own fates rather than leave it to the hands of the Nazis. Therefore it is really uplifting to witness this transition from a community which simply acknowledged the site of an incredibly audacious family to this permanent record of the Wolf family with these signs and memorials. None of this could have been achieved without the work of these incredible educators Mrs. Tambuscio, Mrs. Sussman, Mr. Chang, and Mr. Barmore!

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