Daily Dispatches

Day 10: Justice at Nuremberg


By Natalie Shure In Nuremberg, the history of The Third Reich merges with the history of law. The city lent its name to both the 1935 Nuremberg laws that defined and persecuted Jews, and the Nuremberg Trials that brought many high-ranking Nazis to justice for war crimes. The trials, which ushered in a new era [...]

Day 9: The Choreography of Terror

"The Way of Human Rights" a monument to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Nuremberg. Photo by Valerie Hopkins.

Hitler and his pet architect, Albert Speer, saw the Third Reich as the next great empire after the  Greek and Roman Empires. They built gigantic, megalomaniacal structures, like the Zeppelintribune grandstand for 250,000 people and a Kongresshalle for 50,000. On our visit to Nuremberg today, we found that the Zeppelin was being set up for [...]

Day 8: “A cry of despair and a warning to humanity”

Toby and Bogdan walk the same path from the selection platform to the crematoriums at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Photo by Valerie Hopkins.

By Beth Cortez-Neavel There is a marigold-yellow house with a red clay tile roof across from where we are standing. There are two baskets of flowers turning in the wind, hanging from the porch, with doors looking out across the road to where we stand. There is a small child’s wooden playhouse, and nearby there [...]

Day 7 (Part 2): Stories That Guide Us Through Auschwitz

A sign in front of barbed wire fencing surrounding barracks at Auschwitz I. Photo by Bogdan Mohora.

By Gosia Glouszek “The one who does not remember history is bound to live through it again,” says the inscription in Barrack 4 of the Auschwitz I concentration camp. This thought stays with us throughout the three hours we will spend at Auschwitz on this Sunday afternoon. From the very beginning, we are struck by [...]

Day 7 (Part 1): Oświęcim in the Shadow of History


By Anna Silman More than 1.4 million people visit the museum at Auschwitz each year, but relatively few of them spend a night in the Polish town where the museum is located, known as Oświęcim. As part of the FASPE program, we are spending two nights in Oświęcim, in part to help us understand the [...]

Day 6: Discussing Deception and Truth

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By Allison Griner No sun rose over Krakow today. Yesterday’s sunshine was replaced by daylong rain—which, in combination with a rare unscheduled morning, allowed our group to sleep off a busy night. Some had walked back to the Jewish neighborhood we visited, Kazimierz, to attend Sabbath dinner at the Jewish Community Center. Others observed a [...]

Day 5: Forgetting and Remembering in Krakow

Young boy looks at merchandise in Kazimierz. Photo by Bogdan Mohora

By Claire Ward “This is like Jewish Disneyland,” says FASPE’s Managing Director Thorin Tritter. Our group is standing in Kazimierz. The once bustling Jewish neighborhood is where the majority of Krakow’s Jews lived before being forcibly moved in 1941 by the Nazis to a ghetto near the city’s factory outskirts. Thorin gestures toward a row of [...]

Day 4 (Part 1): Tracks to the “Final Solution”

FASPE Fellows visit Track 17, a monument to remember one of Berlin's three train stations used to deport Jews to the east and to concentration camps. Photo by Valerie Hopkins.

By Toby Salinger FASPE’s European director emphasized on Thursday that our trip to Berlin’s Track 17 Memorial and the House of the Wannsee Conference would connect with upcoming stops on our journey. “This is the other end of that iconic entry point into Auschwitz,” said Thorsten Wagner at the site of the railroad tracks which [...]

Day 4 (Part 2): The Press and Nazi Germany

Wolf Kaiser, education director at the House of the Wannsee Conference, speaks to FASPE fellows before guiding them into the exhibit. Photo by Bogdan Mohora.

By Anna Boiko-Weyrauch The date was Jan. 31, 1933, about a month before freedom of the press was abolished in Germany through the “Reichstag Fire Decree” and almost a year before “non-Aryan” journalists were banned by the “Editors Law.” German newspaper Frankfurter Zeitung had no hope for Hitler, wrote political editor, Benno Reifenberg. The German [...]

Day 3: Surveying the Topography of Terror

FASPE fellows listen as Thorsten Wagner describes the Topography of Terror model of Germany's National Socialism (Nazi) headquarters in Berlin. Photo by Kelly Moffitt.

By Abhijit Mazumdar The highlight of our day in Berlin was a visit to the Topography of Terror, a museum built on land where the headquarters of the Nazi security apparatus once stood. This was the nerve center of the planning of the Nazi terror. As always, FASPE European Director Thorsten Wagner left us mesmerized [...]

Day 2: An Early Start in Berlin

The dome of the Neue Synagoge on Oranienburger Strasse. FASPE13/Claire Ward.

By Kelly Moffitt Understatement and complexity were today’s watchwords. After an overnight flight from New York and dropping bags off at the hotel and grabbing a bite of German breakfast (we’re quickly learning that “coffee” here means delicious cappuccino), we set off on a tour of downtown Berlin. FASPE’s European Director, Thorsten Wagner, literally walked [...]

Day 1: Meeting an Auschwitz survivor – Introductions at New York

The morning welcome sign. FASPE13/Beth Cortez-Neavel

By Harman Boparai We were told that that the FASPE fellowship that was to take us to Germany and Poland could well be a “life-changing experience,” but we didn’t know that that process would begin even before we left New York. We spent the first day and a half of the fellowship at New York’s [...]