My experience in Poland was a deeply emotional and profound one, as it allowed me to bear witness to the sites where my ancestors were tortured, suffered, and murdered. In addition, the trip was crucial in strengthening my connection to my Jewish identity and love for Israel, which are significant components of my personal beliefs.
As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, I also felt a strong sense of responsibility to commemorate the Jewish victims of the Holocaust who were also part of the queer community. To honor them, I chose to wear a Jewish and Israeli Pride Flag during my visit to Auschwitz, Birkenau, Majdanek, Treblinka, and other sites. In addition, putting my Tefillin on right outside the gas chamber at Majdanek was the most meaningful experience I have ever had with them. The overwhelming emotions I experienced throughout the trip are indescribable, and I found myself overcome with tears as I contemplated the unimaginable trauma that was inflicted upon the Jews who were tortured in this country.
Despite the heart-wrenching nature of my visit, I felt a sense of pride in representing the members of the community who were no longer there to do so themselves. I believe that they are watching over me, supporting me, and inspiring me to continue advocating for the rights of the Jewish LGBTQIA+ community and Israel. This experience has left a profound impact on me, fueling my commitment to keep their memories alive and to ensure that their voices are heard.