An embarrassing incident occurred some 10 days ago during a High School trip to the Majdanek extermination camp mausoleum (Mountain of Ashes) in Poland. The mountain contains the ashes of tens of thousands of Jews who were exterminated in the camp during the Holocaust.
Ynet has learned that as the group stood near the mountain receiving a briefing on the death camp and its horrors, one of the students walked into the site and treaded on the ashes in spite of the fact that to do so is clearly prohibited.
The guides and members of the educational team that were on site grabbed him and removed him from the site. The group's leaders then held an initial inquiry into the incident and made the severity of the incident clear to the entire group. Moreover, the event was immediately reported to the Education Ministry who demanded comprehensive clarification of the incident.
Embarrassing incident at camp (Archive Photo: Yair Altman)
The Majdanek extermination camp is adjacent to the city of Lublin and it is estimated that over 80,000 Jews were murdered within its walls. The Mountain of Ashes which sits at the southern corner of the camp contains seven tons of human ashes which were collected into one giant mound.
A source within the Israeli Education Ministry who often visits the site with school groups said: "There is no doubt that this is improper and prohibited behavior but it should be noted that tens of thousands of students visit the site annually and behave in an exemplary fashion. This is an isolated case of one single student who acted wrongly."
The Education Ministry said in response: "A breach of discipline which was immediately handled by the staff occurred during a class trip to the Majdanek extermination camp in Poland. Furthermore, upon the group's return to the hotel, the group's staff held a comprehensive inquiry with all the relevant factors.
"The case was brought to the notice of the entire group and educational talks were conducted with the entire group. An additional inquiry into the incident is currently being held in order to draw conclusions and prevent a recurrence of incidents of this kind."