AFTER THAT SHORT teaser yesterday, I'll briefly explain what I am going to do this Thursday.
As part of a program sponsored by the Conseil General Alpes Maritimes (which is sort of like the regional school district) I am going to Poland with 21 students to visit the Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps. But what makes the trip really 'incredible' is the fact that we are making this trip in one day.
First, some background. The 3eme (that's 9th grade in the U.S.) program in history focuses on Europe in the 1930s and 40s. For about half of the year the students study the period between the World Wars, which obviously includes the rise of Hitler and the issues related to the Holocaust. Every year students from select schools are given the opportunity to travel to Poland for a guided tour of the two concentration camps. The trip is free to students who are selected to go. In order to get a place on the trip, students must write a letter of intent and submit it to the Conseil General, which then chooses which students get to go. Since I teach history at one of the schools that takes part in this program, I am able to go this year as a sponsor. This year the 21 students selected are a mix of students in the various international sections that we have at the CIV -- so some will be from the Anglophone section, some from Italian section, and some from the German section.
Our day begins when we meet at the airport at 5:15am. At that point we rendez-vous with our tour guides and prepare to board a chartered plane for the 2 hour flight to Krakow. But before we board the plane we will meet an 84-year old resident of Nice who will be making the trip with us: he is a survivor of the Auschwitz Camp. Once we arrive in Poland we spend the morning touring Birkenau, take an hour for lunch, spend the afternoon touring Auschwitz, then return to Krakow for the flight back to Nice. According the schedule I have received, we get back to Nice at 11:00pm.
Any way you look it at, that's a full day. When you consider what we will we see during the day, it may seem even longer. I've never been to a concentration camp, but I remember my parents telling me about the time they visited Auschwitz some 20+ years ago. One of the things they used to say is that it was difficult to describe.
In any case, I'm in for a whirlwind day -- one that is sure to be incredible, no matter how you define the word.