Day 9 Trsice

Our day began with a short drive to Trsice. What a surprise greeted us as we walked to the Trsice City Hall from our bus when we saw a new historical marker for a five stop walking tour of the history here connected to the diary of Otto Wolf.  This trail takes people to the two memorials that we dedicated here in 2012 and 2013, as well as the Trsice history museum, the memorial at Zakrov to Otto and the 19 men killed here in April of 1945, and the cemetery where some of the rescuers are buried.



We were greeted in a traditional welcoming ceremony at the city hall which consisted of tearing off a piece of bread and dipping it into a bowl of salt before eating.  

We were ushered into the meeting room and introductions were made. The mayor of Trsice, Mrs. Leona Stejskalova, surprised us with her story of visiting Yad Vashem in Israel with 7 other mayors from the Olomouc area. Our friend, Dr. Karel Brezina told his memories as a child during the war, witnessing the Wolf family entering and exiting the hideouts along with the story of the Wolf family in Trsice.  Mrs. Zdenka Calabkova, the young daughter of Marie and Oldrich Ohera who helped hide the Wolf family in their home and who we call Mrs. Ohera, was not able to join us here because she is recovering from hip surgery.





We boarded the bus and walked through the forest to visit our memorial, dedicated in 2012 to Otto and his family, who hid here in the forest for three long years.  A local sponsor of the new Otto Wolf Trail, the Jezdecky Areal Trsice, a new horse stable with a bed and breakfast with a restaurant located in between Zakrov and Trsice, hosted a delicious lunch for our students, the mayor, her assistant and the local Boy Scouts and their leader.  After our tour of the lovely horse stables, we went to the memorial we dedicated last year to the rescuers who helped the Wolfs while in hiding.  

Our final stop in the area was at the memorial at Zakrov, where we were fortunate to find Mrs. Ohera, whose father and uncle were killed along with Otto Wolf.  To our surprise, Mrs. Ohera was out walking for physical therapy and gave us big hugs before posing for pictures.

After a two hour bus ride, we arrived in Oswiecim, at The International Youth Meeting Centre in Oswiecim/Auschwitz, where we ate dinner and learned more about this place.  Established in 1986 in a cooperative effort between Germany and Poland to use the history of the Holocaust, educators host seminars to increase understanding about issues of prejudice.  We are the only guests staying in a house with a living room, kitchen and multiple rooms.  As we type the blogs, they are in the loft outside their rooms upstairs laughing, talking and relaxing.  Soon we will sleep and prepare for our intense day tomorrow at Auschwitz and Birkenau.

47 comments

  1. I would like to start off by recognizing Mrs. Tambuscio, Mr. Chang, Mrs. Bauman and Ms. Sussman. You have all worked to hard on every aspect of this trip and this memorial and today you made history!! Congratulations!!I remember myself opening up Salvaged Pages a little over a year ago and readying Otto Wolf's Diary. I was so inspired by his and many others with in that book and even went on to read Mrs. T's full copy of Otto Wolf's Diary and other book pertaining to the Holocaust and couldn't wait to go to Trsice. After learning so much about Otto Wolf I was anxious to see what this hideout was going to look like but when we arrived at the spot in the forest I didn't even know we were at the hideout. All I saw was a hill with three shallow holes in it and a bunch of bushes and branches. I thought to myself, wait the family that I read about lived here? I was in shock and disbelief for quite some time. Even to this day I don't know how the Wolf family lived in that small space.When we all think about the Holocaust we immediately think about everyone who was sent to concentration camps and killed there but often we don't think about how many people where persecuted in other ways. I know I personally had never thought of this until I saw the Wolf families hideout. It had never occurred to me that the families who \”escaped\” were tortured in other ways. Could you imagine living with your whole family in the woods and having to rely on others just to get a meal or having to fear every time you went to get water they someone would see you and you would be killed? I know I personally cannot.I am so happy to see a memorial to the Wolf family and too see that there were news reporters and so many other people there. We may just be a few small town from the United States but we have made a difference!! The memorial looks beautiful and I really like how you all placed a rock on it, it may not mean a lot to most people but understand that this is a sign of respect for Jewish people I find it very meaning full.Also I would like to say I see my page from last year's book in there and it made me very happy to see that I was \”at\” the memorial today. I hope to one day see it in person.Once again you have all done an amazing job!!(sorry for such a long post)Cherilyn

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  2. Congratulations to Mrs.Tambuscio,Mr.Chang,Mrs.Bauman and Ms.Sussman for all of your hard work and dedication that made this historical day possible. There is something to be said for hard work and dedication and that memorial is proof of that. It is now there and will be seen and remembered by all who witness this area. I thought it was a great touch having the photograghs from the past tours hanging and present there. It is students from past tours as well todays students and future students that will teach us and the following generations that this time period in history should not be forgoten and to not allow such a crime to ever repeat itself again. Thank you all for doing your part and inspiring so many.

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  3. Mrs. Ohera is one of the most beautiful people I have ever met in my life. Her story is one I cherish, not because it has the happiest ending, but it exhibits strength, perseverance, and survival. Her father died with pride for his people, and Mrs. Ohera’s admiration is visible 70 years later. No translator on this earth could decode the emotions exhibited on her face. I could write about her forever, but I will stop at that.My day in Trsice is one I will never, in my whole life, forget. This was “my point” where everything came crashing down and I made the connection that everyone in this program experiences. This is when the Holocaust Study Tour transitioned from fellow participants into a family.Words really cannot and will not, ever, describe what you all experienced today. You all were a part of establishing history. This is something I’m sure you will all take through the rest of your lives. To experience such a beautiful event with such heroic people is life-changing. I cannot wait to see videos of this ceremony, though I’m sure it will not be the same as what you all experienced. Remember: you experienced today’s festivities with your HST group, and for that you will forever be connected.Mrs. Tambuscio, Mr. Chang, Mrs. Sussman, and Mrs. Bauman: this memorial would not have been completely possible without your dedication.

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  4. Bravo! I'm so proud of ALL the students this year, and over the years of the HST!! What a difference you all have made in helping bring Otto Wolf's story to the forefront! The addition of the stairway with railings, the cleaning up of the area, and the beautiful memorial makes me proud to see everyone's vision come to fruition. I loved seeing the laminated pictures from the past HST books. It's nice to see how all the students were recognized by the locals in Trsice. Continue with all you have ahead of you…it will get very tough. But, again, so worth while!

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  5. It looks like you ahve had such a memorable trip! I hope that someday I can visit the Wolf Family Memorial, see our school's name, and cherish the fact that I was apart fo helping of the dedication of the memorial in Trsice. Cannot wait to hear all of the memories when you return!

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  6. What an amazing experience. (Though I have not commented as much as I should have), I have been following every day of your journey. You should all be so proud of yourselves for following through with what you believed in and doing something so important for so many. I remember New Milford going on this trip for the first time when I was in high school and to see it still going on, and to think back on the amount of students whose lives have been changed by this trip is truly remarkable. I look forward to following you each morning, and Ben – Period 1 misses you and says \”hi!\”-Ms. B

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  7. The clothesline strung between two of the trees near the memorial with pictures of the 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 Holocaust Study Tour students is astonishing. Knowing that you will be on that next year for the next group of students to see is probably the best feeling in the world. The memorial looks absolutely beautiful and I found it amazing how you all placed a rock on it. Stay safe, good luck tomorrow!

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  8. The Memorial looks great! What an amazing experience. You should all be proud of yourselves. Looking at the Memorial photos, I noticed many of the Holocaust Book Spreads that we created back here in New Milford, New Jersey. What a proud feeling it is to see our work and efforts hanging around this memorial. Hope you all continue to expand your horizons on this trip and may all continue to be safe.Mr. Pevny

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  9. What an amazing trip you are experiencing! Looking at the pictures and blogs posted, the students are gaining so much insight. Midland Park is so proud. We look forward to hearing about the memories when you return. Continue to be safe. Mr. Capuano

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  10. How amazing to not only be there to learn and see history, but to be a part of it! The heritage of the Jewish people is paramount; they remember where they've been so they can know where they are going. I'm also sensing the same sentiment from your group leaders. To see the pictures of the past tours displayed so prominently and to read the words in your blog of how important all of your travelers have been (and are!) is wonderful. Years ago I watched this tour depart from Midland Park High School and I'm delighted to see our students back with you again. All of your students are lucky to have the ability to experience this trip; and I know they'll carry it with them always because they'll know where they're going because they know where they've been.

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  11. CONGRATULATIONS Colleen Tambuscio and cohorts! The dedication ceremony appears to be an amazing event. You had a vision and with focus and persistence (Mrs. Tambuscio's specialties) you made it happen. What an outstanding learning experience on so many levels for all involved. Looking forward to hearing the details when you return.Ronnie EisenSHIP Program Midland Park

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  12. This is truly incredibly. It must have been amazing to walk through the place where the Wolf's escaped through. It is important to have permanent reminders like this.

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  13. The memorial looks beautiful! I can't believe that a memorandum has been signed because of the trips from various classes. Now a museaum and memorial services will be made, making sure that the souls of the people who have died will never be forgotten.

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  14. This has to be one of the most special days in a long history of special days associated with this program. I once again shared the blog in my World History classes and everyone was amazed at the story – both the historical account of the Wolf family and the current efforts of all those involved in making this memorial a reality. This is a terrific connection – between people and places throughout the world. Thank you for sharing this special time with all of us.

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  15. The memorial looks great! Today will go down in history. I wish I could have witnessed the unveiling. I was interested in the placing of the rocks around the memorial. I didn't know it was a Jewish tradition. It reminded me of the ending scene of Schindler's List. We just finished the movie in class.

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  16. The woods look just as creepy and dense as Mrs. Bauman described them. To this day, I will never know how the Wolf family lived with all that fear. I would be so scared all the time and I'm sure they were but somehow they were strong. It's inspiring to hear their story and now with the memorial to honor their memory.

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  17. How utterly moving is this piece about the Memorial! This is a day you will never forget, nor the unwavering commitment to justice your teacher, Mrs. Tambuscio, lives by. I hope you realize from this particular experience the true nature of courage and doing what you know is right in your heart at all costs.Miss you all!Mrs. DePoto

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  18. The clothesline with the pages of the book stretching across the forest…well I had to wipe tears away. How thoughtful to \”bring along\” all the HST Students who started the journey but couldn't make it back with this year's group. The entire day is a tribute to courage, never giving up and the dignity and respect that we all deserve…living or dead.

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  19. It's amazing to watch something like this ripple effect. You guys go to Germany and are making a huge difference. All the rewards that will come out of that project show how big of a difference we can make and how those differences can create a ripple of better things to come. The memorial was an incredible idea!

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  20. I think it's really neat that they strung photos of past Holocaust Study Tour groups on a clothesline at the memorial. It shows they faces of those who have become greater experts on the subject of the Holocaust, and those who can pass on the stories and experiences of those who experienced the tragic event itself.

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  21. This memorial looks so beautiful in the pictures so I can't even imagine what it was like to be there in person. I am extremely happy that this was made. None of those people will be forgotten. The clothesline really stuck out to me. That is incredible that they strung those all around the forest.

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  22. We were with you in spirit today! What an amazing day this must have been for all of you. You were a part of living History! The unveiling of the memorial must have been such a special moment and one I'm sure you will never forget. This day had been long awaited and I know a lot of work and fund raising was behind it by Mrs. Tambuscio. Kudos!!!I first heard of Otto Wolf and his famiy's hiding place in the woods by my daughter, Meredith, who went on the HST in '09. Such an incredible story and to know that this memorial is a direct result of this program is so impressive. Thank you Mrs. Tambuscio, Mr. Chang, Mrs.Bauman and Ms. Sussman for your dedication to this program. Your teachings, wisdom and passion for humankind have not only left an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of the students on this trip and past trips, but also all of us at home that have learned through your blog, your published book or your presentations. Stay safe! Joan McCann

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  23. Toay's evets are so powerful. When the power resonates through a BLOG the way it does, I cannot even imagine what the experiences are like in person. Almost a year and one half ago, Mrs. Tambuscio came to me to ask for 50 copies of Salvage Pages for her Holocaust Studies classes. I thought I was just supporting a good teacher and the needs of her students. NEVER could I have realized the impact one text could have on so many students, and how many miles those texts would travel, two full trips now, including a visit to the dedication for Otto Wolf. The pictures of all of the students who have travelled before you must have been comforting. I see their names in the blog postings and know that they are thinking of you as well. None of this would have been possible without the focused efforts of one special woman, Mrs. T. The lesson to be learned here is the value persistance and fortitude. May you take that lesson with you the rest of your lives.

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  24. I think that the memorial is so pretty, and that it is so great that we keep honoring those who had to struggle through the Holocaust. This was a great way to remember Otto and his family.

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  25. I think the story of the nuns is great. It shows that there were some who were sympathetic to the Jews. Although the nuns might not have been able to do much to save the Jews, they were able to bury them. This respect for the Jews helps me understand that there might have been many that were sympathetic to the Jews but could not do anything to save them.

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  26. There are events and people who change who we are and how we look at the world. This trip and Mrs. Tambuscio have opened your hearts and minds will forever be a part of who you are.

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  27. This memorial is a true commemoration of the strength and will of all the Jewish people during the Holocaust. Although it represents a sliver of history during that time, it speaks volumes for all the Jewish people, who relied on their personal strength, faith, and will to do what they could to hold onto their dignity even in the most undignified times.

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  28. This memorial is a wonderful way to celebrate the memory of Otto Wolf and his family for generations to come. It is so inspiring to see all the people who came out to help commemorate this moment with you all. I am so proud of everyone because your efforts have ensured that Otto and his family will never be forgotten.

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  29. I am so happy and proud that my classmates and teacher got to be part of such a wonderful and moving gesture. This family and what they stand for cannot be forgotten and with this memorial they won't be.

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  30. It is so wonderful that the memorials you dedicated in 2012 and 2013 are now an official part of Otto Wolf's history in 2014! The photos of the new horse stables are beautiful! How lucky to meet Mrs. Ohera in Zakrov; you might say it was \”bashert,\” (meant to be!)

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  31. It is amazing to see the story about Otto Wolf come to life. Reading the diaries in class doesn't even compare to actually seeing the memorial. I can't wait to see the blogs about Auschwitz and Birkenau tomorrow.

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  32. It's amazing to see how much the area has changed and improved in reference towards the memorial. It's great to see that Trisice has added signs to commemorate and add notice to the important memorial.

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  33. It is great to see how far the memorial has come, and how much recognition it has gotten throughout the years is AWESOME. The markers and maps are beautiful! Can't wait to see what you all post about Auschwitz tomorrow!

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  34. I remember this was one of the days I really enjoyed of the trip last year. I felt so privileged to be able to be a part of the reveal of the memorial with all the townspeople. It is also great to see that the memorial is taken care of! It also looks as if everyone was really intrigued by the hideout of Otto Wolf and his family, as I had been when I went. It was so hard to imagine people living in a hole underground for any length of time. It is also nice to see that you all have kept in touch with the boy scouts. I hope everyone is having a great time and learning a lot!

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  35. Your blog posts have been tremendous. I look forward to continuing to learn with all of you, especially as your pilgrimage continues to Auschwitz and Birkenau. May you all rest and care for one another well.

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  36. Prior to the Holocaust Trip, Mrs. Tambuscio held her annual trip to Washington D.C. with students of New Milford High School to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. A truly unparalleled experience was when we were brought into the basement of the museum and an employee of the museum showed us Otto Wolf's real diary. One of the more common diaries of the Holocaust is the diary of Anne Frank, but the story of Otto Wolf is a truly remarkable account of a family whose fate was heavily determined by the actions of an entire community. In old literature, the forest often represented the unknown and the source of all evil due to lack of exploration. The Wolf family knew they would have to venture into the unknown, but they decided to write their own fates rather than leave it to the hands of the Nazis. Therefore it is really uplifting to witness this transition from a community which simply acknowledged the site of an incredibly audacious family to this permanent record of the Wolf family with these signs and memorials. None of this could have been achieved without the work of these incredible educators Mrs. Tambuscio, Mrs. Sussman, Mr. Chang, and Mr. Barmore!

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