Jewish Lublin & Old Town

UW Study Abroad - LukeHello! My name is Luke Peter and I’m a senior at UW Oshkosh, graduating in the fall. I’m majoring in geography, although history is also an interest of mine. I’ve been fascinated with WWII history for awhile now and have always wondered why something as horrifying as the Holocaust could happen to people who aren’t that much different from myself. Being a geography major, culture and places have always been a focus of my studies, which have covered other genocides in history around the world, yet none as terrible as the Holocaust.

Today we took a tour around Lublin, visiting places that were once part of a thriving Jewish community. 43,000 Jews once lived in Lublin and now there are none.  Zero. Completely erased from a place they had inhabited for hundreds of years. Our amazing tour guide, Magda, made many good points about the Jewish/Polish relationship here. Even looking at old pictures of the different parts of old town, it is evident that even before the war the relationship with Jews was strained. There was a clear divide between the city which explains why there is no Jewish population here today. As days go by, the world forgets what happened here and that is unacceptable. Magda explained that they have a program here called Project 43,000. It’s a perfect way to remember the people that were unjustly persecuted and have since been forgotten. The plan is to find relatives and other people who might have known these people and find more information about them. Although it could take many, many years to complete, I think it is a great start to remembering these people. I for one will not forget the pictures, places, and the people I’ve met and learned about in Lublin.  View the trip’s photo album here.

– Luke Peter, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh