May 16, 2007

Mission to Berlin and Poland

Krakow Main Square

Last night, we had a gathering at the Museum in advance of our Mission to Berlin and Poland taking place at the end of June. It has been 10 years since the last Mission, and the excitement is palpable. This trip has the potential to be life-changing for members of the Museum family who will be able to see the sites of Jewish culture and the shadows of once thriving Jewish life, visit concentration camps, and perhaps most important, share with their fellow travelers the meaning of a trip like this. I am especially thrilled to show them the synagogue in Oswiecim and the Auschwitz Jewish Center.

I am leading the trip along with Yitzchak Mais, founding curator of the Museum. As good friends, we have conspired to make this a very special journey indeed. We want to strike the right balance that every good trip should have – we want people to be enriched and to enjoy themselves.

Yitzchak is co-curator of our new exhibition on Jewish resistance, and the travelers in our group are privileged to be traveling through Eastern Europe with such a scholarly and knowledgeable guide. I look forward to returning to Berlin myself. I spent six years there, from 1988 to 1994, as the Director of the Berlin Document Center, where I managed the center’s 25 million Nazi-era personnel files, and subsequently oversaw the transfer of the center’s administration to the German government. Although I have been back to Berlin many times over the years, it is always a great pleasure to introduce this remarkable city with its layers of history to new people with whom you share a different part of your life.

If you are interested in joining the trip, there is still time. Contact Jilian Gersten at

(Photo: David G. Marwell)

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