Register Wednesday | January 16 | 2019

Next Year in Krakow

Rebuilding Jewish culture in Poland is no easy task after its near-total erasure, and more than anything it takes imagination.

It’s morning in Krakow and I’m standing with several people at the edge of a park. A path cuts through rolling fields, sprawling and lush, edged with trees and wild grass. One in our group is a botanist, and he guides us through clusters of dandelion, chicory and horsetail. As he points to different leaves and flowers, he explains their various therapeutic uses. “I can give some to my Grandma,” one girl enthuses, as we come across a plant that’s apparently good for soothing arthritis. We’ve brought a stack of garbage bags, and each of us carries one, making them increasingly heavy as we fill them with uprooted plants and clumps of dirt.

The park is on the site of a former Nazi concentration camp called Plaszow. I’ve visited former Nazi camps before, including Auschwitz, which my paternal grandparents survived, and which I toured at ...

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