International Summer Academy in German
The International Summer Academy in German took place at the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and Holocaust on 23-29 of August. This year’s edition gathered 22 participants: teachers, students, educators from Dachau and Mauthausen Memorials, and a university lecturer from The University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
“An important part of the seminar was a meeting with prof. Wacław Długoborski, former prisoner of Auschwitz. Academy program consisted of lectures and discussions on the history of the camp, education at the Memorial Sites and preservation of authenticity. Among invited experts was prof. Ryszard Kaczmarek of History Institute at the University of Silesia, who spoke about current research of German occupation of Poland - Nazi ideology and its influence on the occupation system. Marek Zając - a journalist and publicist, led workshop titled Auschwitz as lesson of ethics without moralising,” said Magdalena Urbaniak, program coordinator from the Center for Education.
“For me, as a history student, the most important aspect was an opportunity to get to know the place in details, to discover the new aspects of the complex history of Auschwitz, as well as the possibility to ask questions during the visit, and of course to work with archival materials such as German camp documents,” said Katharina Winter, Academy participant from Germany. “When one faces the history in a place like this, the tangible contact with the past allows for a better understanding of many issues,” - added Florian Wahl, Academy participant from Austria.“The first day of the seminar participants spent in Judaica Foundation - Center for Jewish Culture in Cracow, where they listened to the lecture of Dr. Joachim Russek on the pre-war history of Cracow Jews and visited Kazimierz as well as the area of a former ghetto on Podgórze,” informed Urbaniak.
During following days participants of the Academy got acquainted with the history and the area of the former Nazi German Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp. During their visit, the participants had an opportunity to see places which are usually not available for visitors, for instance the only preserved wooden barrack in Section Bla of the former Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp, which used to be a medical clinic. On the final day of the seminar, participants visited areas neighbouring the camp, where sub-camps of KL Auschwitz in Budy and Jawiszowice were located. This visit was possible thanks to cooperation with Foundation of Memory Sites Near Auschwitz-Birkenau. The concluding and final part of the visit was viewing of the Sola-Hütte area in Międzybrodzie, which used to be an SS recreation centre.