Saturday, January 26, 2013

January 25th

Today we went to Bratislava, Slovakia which is about a hour away from Vienna by train .  We went to Slovakia because it was a puppet nation controlled by the Nazi's during WWII and their Jewish community was almost completely decimated and during this time Jews made up about 25% of their population.  The first thing that we did was go to a castle that was rebuilt during the communist period, from the castle you can see across the Danube and even some of Austria.
Following that we had lunch at a cafe a short walk from the museum that we were going to afterwards. I had goulash which is similar to a stew with dumplings pork and sauerkraut, I was surprised at how much I liked it because I had never had goulash (or anything like it) before. After lunch we walked to a site where the main synagogue of Bratislava had been, however it is not there anymore because it had been demolished in the 1960's so that a highway could be built. I was surprised at how little consideration there had been when demolishing the synagogue  There is not even a noticeable monument to it, instead there is a relief of the synagogue on the wall that supports the highway and a plaque.
Then we went to the Jewish museum which was very informative and had a lot of information about Jewish culture but it was unsettling because the museum was created not entirely as a memorial to the holocaust but also to educate the people of Bratislava about a group of people and a culture that is very rarely found in their city today.  I was happy to see that steps are being taken to memorialize the loss of Jewish people and their culture but at the same time it done in a very different way than we saw in Berlin.

Because of the extreme cold we decided to go back to Vienna after seeing some of the new part of Bratislava instead of walking across a bridge over the Danube to have dinner in Bratislava.

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