CLOSE-U - 01
Escape R o o t
"I remember the village of
Vapenik as being so beautiful," Mrs.
Weiss said. "But it wasn't like it was
before. It was shocking to me. The
village was damaged by the war."
"This was her dream to see the vil-
lage again," Dottie Wagner said of
her mother. "She came to the States
in 1937 with her two sisters. Her
mother put her on a boat to come to
the States. Her parents were to take
the next boat. They never made it,
and my mother's dream was to walk
on the land her mother walked on."
Aaron Weiss, a 16-year-old North
Farmington High School junior, said
he realized the trip to Czechoslova-
kia was so special it probably could
not happen again.
Aaron's mother, Trudy, said that
experiencing the tour through the
eyes of both the older relatives and
the younger relatives gave it a com-
"All of the young people were very
respectful and very interested," she
said. "They had heard some of the
stories of the family before. But now
they were surrounded by the towns
Jean Weiss meets with a townsperson in Vapenik, her home village.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 1992
and the feelings. Now they could un-
derstand what really happened."
Sheri Wagner, a 20-year-old Uni-
versity of Michigan junior, said she'll
always keep that visualization of her
grandmother visiting her home- (
"I really realize why we went
there," she said. "When we were
turning over the gravestones look-
ing for Reli's mother's headstone, it
made me realize what this was all
It was the children who had some
of the most intriguing images to dis-
cuss. It wasn't easy going from the , 1
comfortable life in suburbia to an
area in Europe that stood still with
For Amy Wagner, a 16-year-old
West Bloomfield High School stu-
dent, the memories of a visit to the
death camp at Theresienstadt evoke=
an aching feeling she never felt be-
fore. She saw the mass graves; she
breathed the air of the death of in -
nocent life. She responded by plac- 1
ing pebbles on the graves. And c-=,
months after taking this trip, she_,
still has the feeling inside. "Those 1
people have to know that they were
remembered, that I remembered
them," she said.
Amy added that the overall expe- ,
rience of the trip heightened her
sense of family pride.
"I see where they came from and
where they are now," she said.
For 13-year-old Hillel Day Schoc_ 1 !
student Rachel Weiss, the walk up
the hill to see the house where the
family had hidden, as well as the
current condition of these small
lages, left the greatest impact. Leah_
Weiss, 11, concurred.
"It was weird," she said. "In nixie
hours on a plane, you go from a place
of total freedom to a country where
they have guards holding machine