I think one of the best things about MRH is that you get to go to all of these places with a survivor. I didn’t really understand how special of an experience that would be until we got there. You get to see everything through their lens and it is unbelievably heart breaking, but it teaches you so much more. Elly truly is a teacher and has such a capacity for life that you can feel instantly. He is such a gift.
Reading about these locations and visiting them physically are two very different things. To be very honest, I was quite afraid to go. I didn’t know how I would react or feel going to these sacred places of such horror. We were told before leaving that everybody reacts differently and that your reaction will be unique to you. Each reaction is so important because that is how you process what you have just seen. This was very true.
This trip extended past to holocaust and facilitated discussions about other issues from the past and current ones affecting humanity. I wasn’t expecting a trip into the past to be so forward reaching. I came home with a whole new perspective on how countries deal with and manage their horrid histories, including Canada.
Most of what I thought I’d react to or how I’d react to turned out to be very different than what actually was. I know one of the most moving moments for me was a room in Auschwitz that was a collection of pictures, family films, and stories before the Shoah. They were all pleasant memories of a culture that was nearly annihilated. It simply made my heart hurt like it had never hurt before.
MRH was truly among the best 10 days of my life. The family we created on the trip was unbelievably supportive. It was such a wonderful learning experience to share with other individuals who are so caring and smart. It showed me so many different perspectives on the Shoah and other issues that humanity grapples with. I believe these days were so significant because I learned and grew so much more in those 10 days than I thought imaginable.
Tia is an MRH 2016 alum, and is currently enrolled as a student at Osgoode Hall Law School.