Sheba Medical Center staff ’s Holocaust encounter in Poland

Nearly 200 employees from the Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, including 30 doctors and 70 nurses, have been traversing across Poland this week, as part of a delegation to explore and understand the roots of the Holocaust.

The five-day mission was spearheaded by Sheba Medical Center’s director general Yitshak Kreiss – who is the son of a Holocaust survivor – and Avi Baruch, Sheba’s deputy director for Organizational Management and Human Resources. Among the participants in the mission is a French Holocaust survivor who volunteers in the hospital’s bustling emergency room.

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“The trip underscores the fact that nothing in life is guaranteed. A person who doesn’t know or understand his history, makes it difficult for [him] to understand the present reality or what will be in the future,” Baruch said.

Sheba has played a vital role in the on-going care of hundreds of Holocaust survivors through a special program dedicated to meeting their unique emotional and physical needs during their stay at the facility. This includes helping them with bathing and eating, as well as accompanying them to appointments and providing companionship.

After gut-wrenching encounters with a mass grave, where hundreds of Jews were murdered by the Nazis, as well as a visit to the Treblinka concentration camp, several members of the group wrote an emotional note to their friends and family in Israel.

“Each of us has now experienced the spine-tingling horrors of the Holocaust and the evil of the Nazi regime in our own ways during the course of this trip. It is something we can never forget,” they wrote.

During a poignant ceremony at the Majdanek concentration camp on Tuesday, Kreiss said, “We came here to say to those who were murdered here, you did not perish or sacrifice yourself in vain. We are here to remember all of you, the heart of Polish Jewry, the citizens, the professionals, the doctors and all of the renowned rabbis who were the spiritual soul of the Polish Jews. Here one can see how human beings can turn overnight into vicious animals, which serves as a warning until today.”

This story was written with the cooperation of Sheba Medical Center.