Kristallnacht

Last Friday, at 5:30 p.m. there was a memorial service.  It was in rememberence of Kristallnacht, or “The Night of Broken Glass.” 

I finally got to hear the Kaddish.  It was beautiful.  It reminded me of the part in the book when Akiba Drumer fell victim to the selection.  He asked them to say Kaddish for him in three days time.  But when that third day came, nobody had remembered. 

-Allison Tindall

Published in: on November 19, 2007 at 7:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Ruse of Possibility

So I’m supposed to tell everyone about my reactions to learning that I’d be going to Poland; and, frankly, I haven’t finished reacting yet.

It hasn’t fully sunk in.

I remember sitting there, not even hearing Russell say that we were going to Poland because I was so carefully strategizing in my head how I was going to succeed in this ruse of an interview.

To put it simply, I needed this.

Far too often I’ve expected great things, and they never really panned out how I had hoped.

And I was afraid that this was just another one of those times.

But it wasn’t, and now that I have been granted this amazing opportunity…I’m still holding my breath.

It’s funny how we tend to fully feel the impact of despair but hesitate in believing the possibility of our joy.

But I know that when I am there, when I am there…I will be breathless.

And this is my chance, my opportunity, to really do some good.

To learn, and to teach.

And I can’t wait.

Published in: on November 19, 2007 at 7:28 pm  Comments (1)  

Wait…I’m going where?

At first glance, the assignment to write my reflections on the book Night by Elie Wiesel appeared to be just another blow-off essay. That of course was before I had actually read the book. The last things I expected to be doing during my summer break before my freshman year in college were diving into a book about the Holocaust and writing an essay about it. Well, dive in I did and thus began my journey into the Readership WT Ambassadors.

I never actually believed I would be selected as an Ambassador. My grades on essays in high school indicated that I was far from being the best writer amongst my peers. After reading Night, however, writing down my thoughts seemed to be the only way to get them out of my mind, regardless of how well I would fare in the essay competition.

The first shock was being summoned back after submitting my essay. Somewhat surprised that my essay stuck out to them, I prepared for my informal interview. Well, it is hard to call it an interview because, despite the panel of nearly a dozen professors, the process felt more like a conversation than anything. All that was left was to wait for an e-mail with either good or bad news. When I opened up that e-mail expecting an answer, all I got was a summon to yet another interview. Confused and slightly irritated about the delay of results, I prepared for the next interview. This time it was to be formal. At least I had made it through the first one…

Eighteen of the remaining twenty “candidates” appeared for our second and hopefully final interview. Dr. Lowery-Hart explained that, due to the strengthened Euro, we would have to shave down the number of students going to Poland. Everyone seemed upset. After coming so far, how terrible would it be to be one of the few that fell just short of making it into the program? I felt calm at the time, but I knew that as soon as I stepped into my interview, that tranquility would vanish into thin air. Oh well, I could at least boast having made it thus far.

It took me a long while to realize that I had made it. “I just want to let you know before we begin the final interview that you should all be very proud of yourselves for making it this far in the competition. You are all going to Poland.” Dr. Lowery-Hart made the announcement and the only thing that went through my head was that I had heard this speech so many times before. It wasn’t until I had heard the first couple of excited screams that I realized what he had actually said. Hopefully I wasn’t the only slow one that day. Oh wait, Poland doesn’t even use the Euro as its currency. Why hadn’t I thought of that before?

Of course, my first reaction was to call my parents. Within the next two minutes after the call to my mom, half the world knew I was going to Poland. Hey, it made my job a little easier.

-Marc Dunbar

Published in: on November 19, 2007 at 7:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Memorial Service

As I was walking up to the pedestrian mall, I seen the colorful beams of light shining on the poles of Old Main.  I stood there listening to someone speak about the Holocaust and introduced a man.  He read us a prayer in Hebrew and then translated it into English.  After he was finished speaking, they handed out small candles to light so we could stand and remember the Holocaust survivers.  I wish the ceremony was longer.  I thought it was going to be more informative about the Holocaust but it was a quick 10 or 15 minutes.  The memorial was still meaningful.

-Desiree’

Published in: on November 19, 2007 at 7:25 pm  Comments (1)  

How it all began

Kristallnacht: The night of broken glass. This event in history is thought to have been what started it all, the Holocaust. Hearing Kaddish at the memorial helped me to feel strangely closer to those people and when we lit the candles and listened to the music, you could even imagine the sound of the breaking glass. I was wondering just how many lives were changed forever that night. Did they know what was to come? How can people be so cruel? I doubt these questions can be answered, but they’re out there for others to consider at least. Who knows, maybe I’ll get a better understanding of things during Spring Break.

-Caitlin Carter

Published in: on November 19, 2007 at 7:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

The sneaky surprise..

So I do have to say that Russell is very sneaky. He understood that when we were told about a “final interview”, we all assumed that we were in. Then they decided to throw us all of with this “Oh, we don’t have enough money” spiel, telling us that they could only take 10 -12 instead of 20 people. So we’re all freaked out. Then they walk us into this room full of faculty, sit us down, and oh-so-casually mention that they were all tricksters and that all twenty of us were going to Poland! It took all of us abut 30 seconds before we realized actually what they were telling us. And then, I got really emotional, which was something I hadn’t expected. And that is why I was glad that they surprised us like that – because it meant so much more. I had assumed that we would basically already know when we finally found out – but in doing it this way, it had so much more meaning to it. I am really appreciative of everything that they have done for us and will continue to do for all of us as a group. For me, this is an amazing opportunity. I’m getting to go to places that people usually read about in books, and 95% of the people I know will never get to go there! To visit a place that you read about in history books is definitely an experience of a lifetime [especially when its paid for ;)]. All in all I’m soo thankful that I’ve been given this opportunity to take this journey and then, even further, relate back to my peers and tell them why taking a chance is always the best choice.

Katie Gus

Published in: on November 19, 2007 at 7:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

No…Way…

Lindsey was my partner for the interview so that made SOME of my nerves go away. We walked into Legends and imediatly found a table with teachers we knew. I was in the middle of trying to calm myself down and relax and get ready to start the interview when I heard someone say… Congratulations, you are all going to Poland! I didn’t think I had heard him correctly at first; we were ALL going to Poland? What about the interview?  Lindsey took my hand and was saying “What does that mean? What does that mean?” I was trying to make sense of it myself? The whole room was completely quiet for at least 30 seconds, then I heard everyone start screaming and it finally hit me. I was going to Poland! Me! What an opportunity! The Holocaust has interested me for a long time, but never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would actually be able to walk in the footsteps of the brave people who suffered and survived those horrible events. I can’t wait till Spring Break!

-Caitlin Carter

Published in: on November 19, 2007 at 7:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

What it meant for me to be selected

Wow. I really don’t know how to answer this. I am still in shock that we’re going to Poland! More than that, we are now expected to be role models and represent our school. This is such an honor because I consider WT to be pretty much the best school ever. Being so far away from Montana, WT has truly become my home. I love everything about it. The people, the atmosphere, the school spirit…etc. Needless to say, I’m quite the WT buff…haha. Pun intended. ANYWAY, I really don’t consider myself to be anything special so I’m not that sure why I got picked out of one hundred some odd kids, but it feels awesome.  I am so glad that I took a chance and submitted my essay (four minutes before the deadline). I cannot wait to begin this journey with all of you guys! whoot whoot! POLAND OR BUST BABY!

~Lindsey

Published in: on November 19, 2007 at 7:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

My Reaction to being told I had won!

As I sat in the lobby to Dr. Lowery-Hart’s office I began to fantasize about what we would be talking about. To be honest, I was really hoping that he would tell me that I was going to be going, and that all this “final interview” nonsense was all made up. I was worried about how my interview would go, because it was going to be a one on one talk, not in groups. While I sat on one of the couches I thought I was going to faint before he arrived back from lunch.

Finally Dr. Lowery-Hart arrived to his office; he greeted me, as I did too. We both stepped into his office where we both took a seat. He asked me how I was doing, and where I was going. I told him that I was going home for the weekend, and that I really felt bad about not making it to the final round. We talked for a few minutes before he asked me what time I had to be at the airport. I told him that I was to be at the airport at three. He then told me in a serious and low voice that what he was about to tell me I could not tell anyone else. Some part of me deep down inside was excited because I knew I had won, but I wasn’t for sure, so I didn’t show any expression on my face yet. “David, you’re going to Europe,” he told me. I believe I smiled from the shock and for a second or two didn’t say anything. I didn’t know what to say, I was actually really surprised that I had won. Dr. Lowery-Hart then told me the reason why we had not been notified by email about our success. At this time I was upset that I wasn’t going to be able to be with the other winners.

At the end of my talk with Dr. Lowery-Hart I said thanks and goodbye to him. As I headed back to my dorm room, my face was in a state of permanent smile. I couldn’t wait to get to Dallas and tell my mom that I wasn’t going to be going home for spring break, instead was going to be going to Poland! I am very thankful for everyone that has made this possible, and I will never forget how happy and successful this has made my first year in college.

Published in: on November 14, 2007 at 4:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Holy [censored]!!!

You that feeling you get deep in your stomach? That butterfly, achy breaky feeling? That feeling that life cannot get any better than this one moment, yet you are scared that the dream will end in just a minute, and you will wake up in the morning realizing that it was all just a great dream? That butterfly feeling is the adrenaline pumping through your system, the organs in your abdomen literally seizing up so as to speed blood flow to your muscles in what is called a “fight or flight” reaction. It causes senses of euphoria and horrible cramps the next day.

Yeah, finding out I was going to Poland was like that (even the cramps). I heard the words spoken, I saw the reactions of the people around me, and then as my mind caught up with the rest of the world, I had the overpowering desire to remove the chili cheese fries that I had eaten for lunch fom their current location. (If anyone is wondering, avoid eating anything where the primary ingredient is grease just before an interview.)

So as I realized that the alarm was not about to go off, the first thing that flashed through my mind was, (honestly) “I get to go to Europe with a good looking bunch of people.” Of course then I realized just how inappropriate my thoughts were, and proceeded to enjoy the feeling that I was able to go and study something that means more to me than most people could ever know.

I study World War Two. I study the actions, the results, the ideas that went into it and the philosophies that resulted. That war represents the best and the worst in what mankind has become. Being able to go means visiting places where man’s essence has forever left a mark, yet not in any sort of physical sense.

I still wake up some mornings and fear that it was a dream, and that the alarm is just now going off.

Published in: on November 14, 2007 at 4:38 pm  Leave a Comment