Natalie Zuckerman


Our last day in Poland, we travelled to the camp of Treblinka. Walking in, down a forest of trees, along a path that carried millions in, but never any out. Reaching to our left, a field of infinite jagged stones standing amongst an arena of weeping trees. My back pressed up against the rough stone, becoming numb as my letter was opened. Around me, my friends beginning to cry as they each open their letters. Slowly I begin to read my letter, addressed to me by my parents. I cannot stop reading it, over and over again, looking at the words, again and again, each letter revealing memories of my parents. These words are alive to me, The rocks I’m surrounded by, simply stand as a testimony to the innocent souls murdered here. I can’t sit anymore reading the letter, without thinking of all the beautiful children whose parents were murdered right here, never fortunate enough to receive a letter. How could I ever be upset with my parents, even go a time without appreciating all that they have done in attempts for my happiness. Just as these rocks stood together supporting each other, each of us beginning to cry harder, holding on to one another tighter. The tears falling from my eyes, for those who were never able to tell their parents they loved them.

This moment for me was contrasted when we visited the children's home ‘Beit Elazraki’ in Netanya. Entering the humble home, of hundreds of smiling children, greeted with hugs and open arms. The children, overcoming challenges, were able to be so grateful for what they had. Having come from Treblinka and walking into this home, filled with inspiring young children, made me feel all so grateful for the safe lives we live, surrounded by our family and friends. The warm and loving arms I was brought up in, stood as an image in my mind as to how lucky I really am. Holding the hand of a young girl I had connected with on my visit, wiping away her tears as I had to leave, my mind was taken back; just as the tears ran down my face as I left Treblinka, contrasting her tears of joy as I left her home, made me feel like I was able to make a difference, not just the difference made in my life after visiting Treblinka, but a difference made in this less fortunate child's life was what I could provide from my experience to her.