You Shall Surely Remember the Holocaust

Traveling to the death camps in Poland is, quite simply, not a good thing to do. Any one of the following reasons should be sufficient to deter a person from doing so.
1. It is forbidden to leave Israel, unless one is: 1. Going on a temporary trip necessary to earning a living 2. marrying, or 3. performing a mitzvah. Visiting a death camp is not considered to be as a mitzvah, whether of the Torah or of our Sages. And is not mentioned amongst the hundreds of thousands of paragraphs found in halachic works that were written in recent generations.
2. One should not financially support the Poles, who collaborated with the Nazis in establishing the extermination camps, and even persecuted the Jews themselves many times. Shall murderers benefit from their deeds?
3. The trip is so expensive that often times only the wealthy students can afford to go on it. It is scandalous that something associated with the educational system should create a division between rich and poor.
Now one might say: If this is true, how should we remember the Holocaust? The answer is simple: books, pictures, films, Yad Vashem and similar places. One might also say: That's all well and good, but I’ll miss out on the experience of a live visit to a death camp. The answer is simple: Hold a live meeting with one of the Holocaust survivors, of which there are presently 87,000, and hear directly from him what he experienced.
Still again, one might argue: “But visiting a death camp is an infinitely more powerful experience than talking to a Holocaust survivor.” That argument is truly puzzling. Is an experience with inanimate objects really more powerful than one involving a living, breathing person?! Quite the contrary. Common sense and untainted morality dictate that all of the money spent on this trip should instead be donated to Holocaust survivors, who still suffering, to this very day, from the terrible open wounds to their bodies and souls.
It's true that many of them were successfully absorbed in our country and became its builders, but many others are still suffering. Our country does a tremendous amount for these survivors, but it has not succeeded in solving all of their problems. The State Comptroller's report from 2007 in fact found fault with the way survivors are dealt with. And even though, since then, their situation has vastly improved, there are still many who suffer from a lack of food and medical services.

In sum, despite the State's prodigious assistance, we have not succeeded in answering all of the survivors’ needs, especially since the Law of Assistance to Holocaust Survivors applies only to those who arrived in Israel before 5713. It's obvious that some of those who came afterwards are also suffering greatly.
But getting back to our topic: traveling to the death camps to remember what Amalek did to us there, while at the same time neglecting the Holocaust victims who live in our midst.
If someone claims that this involves no small measure of hypocrisy, he will not be entirely mistaken. If someone is shocked by a person who prefers spending his money on an important "death-camp experience," rather than assisting someone who was hurt there, and thereby performing a human kindness, he is not entirely mistaken either.
So here are several practical suggestions:
1. Cancel the Poland trips and give all the money to organizations that grant assistance and support to Holocaust survivors. There are many such organizations, and you can find them by yourself. That's far less complicated than all of the logistics of traveling abroad. I would like to mention one worthy organization that distributes free medicines to the poor, including many Holocaust survivors: “Chaverim LiTerufa” [Friends for Medicine].
2. Even if one does go to Poland, he should make sure that fifty-one percent of his expenses go to helping the victims themselves. This would allow one to argue that most of the funds are going to actual people, rather than to stones and rocks.
3. And even if this suggestion is rejected, then at the very least, ten percent of one’s total expenses from the trip should be invested in those suffering terribly to this very day, as a sort of ‘Ma’aser”, a tithe. That would at least render us a little bit innocent before G-d and man.
“Look to the Rock from whence you were hewn” (Yeshayahu 51:1).