June 3, 2007

Cadets and Midshipmen

2007 ASAP Participants in the Garden of Stones

We had the kickoff for this year's American Service Academies Program (ASAP). Each summer, we send twelve cadets and midshipmen (four each from West Point, the Air Force Academy, and Annapolis) on a three week study tour to Poland. These remarkable young men and women spend a few days here in New York, a few days in Washington, and then fly to Warsaw and begin a program of study and travel.

The centerpiece of the program is their stay at the Museum's Auschwitz Jewish Center (AJC), located in Oswiecim, the Polish city which the Germans selected as the location for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Death camp. The AJC is housed in the only surviving synagogue in what had been an overwhelmingly Jewish city, with more than thirty Jewish houses of worship and study. If we can believe the testimony of past participants, these twelve future military leaders can look forward to a profound and transformational ("life-changing" is an adjective used by many of the alumni) experience. I envy them...

(Photos by Melanie Einzig)