ICEAH seminar for Israeli educators and guides
19 Israeli guides and employees of institutions involved in the subject of the Holocaust took part in the seminar entitled "Auschwitz in the collective consciousness in Poland and around the world. The role and significance of the Auschwitz-Birkenau memory for Jews and Poles”, which was held from 28 July - 8 August 2019. It was organised by the International Centre for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
The first part of the programme was held in Oścwięcim. The participants had the opportunity to learn more about the history of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz, as well as the multidimensional symbolism of the Memorial Site. They visited the Collections, Conservation Workshops and Archive. During the classes, they also visited the sites of the former sub-camps in Monowice and Jawiszowice. They also visited the Jewish Centre in Oświęcim and learned about the history of the city.
An important supplement to this part of the program was a visit to the Upper Silesian Jews House of Remembrance in Gliwice, during which the group viewed an exhibition on the life of the Jewish community in Silesia. It was created with great attention to detail, in a unique place, in a pre-funeral house dating back to 1903 - said Katarzyna Odrzywołek, project coordinator on behalf of the ICEAH. - A visit to the institution and a walk through the adjacent cemetery, where the victims of the Auschwitz Death March are buried, unveiled a subject that had never been discussed before - added Odrzywołek.
The first city on the study trip around Poland was Cracow. The participants of the seminar took part in a ceremonial Sabbath supper. During the stay in Cracow, they visited three branches of the Historical Museum of the City of Cracow: The Rynek Underground (underground square museum), the Schindler Factory, the Eagle Pharmacy and the Museum of Contemporary Art MOCAK.
The group spent the next two days in Gdańsk. During the guided tour, they learned about the history of the town and the special role of Jews in the creation of its heritage. During the stay in Pomerania, the Israeli educators visited the Museum of the Second World War, the European Solidarity Centre and the former German Nazi concentration camp Stutthof.
The last part of the program took place in Warsaw, where one of the seminar's points was a visit to the POLIN Museum and a meeting with employees of its education department. The tour of the former site of the Warsaw ghetto was enriched with a visit to the Jewish Historical Institute. At the Jewish Historical Institute, the seminar participants explored the new exhibition about the Oneg Shabbat - an underground social organisation documenting life in the Warsaw ghetto.
In addition to the visit to the Warsaw Uprising Museum, a significant event in the context of learning about the fate of the insurgent population of Warsaw was a meeting with a witness of history, dr Janina Iwańska. At the age of 14, she was deported to the Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp as part of the German repression against the fighting civil population of the capital.
“We met some excellent speakers who broadened our knowledge professionally and touchingly with a considerable amount of new material. The speakers willingly answered our questions (which were many!) and happily touched upon every topic we wanted to discuss. We also had the opportunity to work with several fascinating sources and materials on the fate of people during this dark period of human history. The Auschwitz Seminar was an unforgettable experience for us, with deep meaning, during which we gained new knowledge, came to certain reflections and had the opportunity to meet amazing and friendly people. - Yael Shtauber, participant and Director of the Guides Department at Yad Vashem, wrote after the seminar.