THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
On the Polish road without Speranza
To Krakow, via beauty and horror

The road of life

This is not a jolly tour by its nature, though the people on it are mostly happy sorts. When we visit a site (like the Yeshiva at Lublin, pictured) we are glad it survives but sad the people it once served are gone. When we visit a death camp like Majdanek, it's all sadness. Such places must be preserved so that Man remembers where an over-mighty state with a warped ideology can lead. They must be visited but it's a sad duty, like tending a grave.

Majdanek was not my first such visit. I went to Auschwitz when I lived in Poland and was similarly moved. But I am here now with survivors' families. I felt desperately sad and can only imagine how it feels to them.

I was disappointed that we spent so little time in Lublin. I had never visited it and some interesting historical buildings flashed by as we passed through.

My main impressions of Poland today (sad history apart) were of vastly improved roads and of towns and villages that seem more prosperous. Life goes on. Most people are good. The only reason to remember the past is to learn.

My progress is being mapped here. And my photos are to be seen here.

Lublin Yeshiva, now an hotel
The last door