In September 2009, I spent a week in Poland photographing a group of Israeli high school students, visiting synagogues, cemeteries and other traces of the Jewish community, as well as Nazi concentration camps. Emotionally, it was a bipolar experience for the teenagers, one moment singing and dancing in a restaurant, the next in tears at Auschwitz. The trip, one of hundreds that leave every year as part of a Government program, is designed to strengthen the connection of Israeli youth with their Jewish history and national identity. Criticism of these trips is aimed at the emotional manipulation of the youth for political purposes and at the biased teaching of the lessons of the Holocaust, which focuses on the need for a strong Jewish State but ignores the need for any strong state to refrain from abusing its power. Shortly after these pictures were taken, most of the kids would be called up, as are all school leavers, for compulsory service in the Israel Defense Forces.
On route to Glogow Forest mass grave.