Shabbat in Auschwitz

By Anshel Pfeffer

Tags: Auschwitz

In two and a half weeks, a group of young Jews will spend Shabbat in Auschwitz.

That opening line is nearly impossible to comprehend, and does not refer to a visit to a concentration camp. It is the first attempt since the onset of World War II to revive Jewish life, in what was once a mainly Jewish town with a name that will be linked forever to one of the great tragedies of Jewish history.

This is not an effort to re-establish the Jewish community – there are no Jews living openly in the town of Oswiecim, as it is called in Poland. But it is an attempt to establish a renewed tradition of ongoing, Jewish activity, prayer in the town’s only remaining synagogue, lessons, lectures, and observance of holidays.