Seminar for educators from Israel finished
Educators from Israel, including staff of the Yad Vashem Institute for Holocaust Studies, teachers and guides who come to Poland with the Israeli youth, participated in the seminar “Auschwitz in the collective consciousness in Poland and around the world. The role and significance of the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial for Jews and Poles” It has been organised by The International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
The program of the two-week seminar included classes held at the Auschwitz Memorial as well as several study trips. The participants had an opportunity to thoroughly explore the area of the former Nazi German Auschwitz Concentration and Extermination camp. The specialised guided visit was extended, among other things, by a visit in two blocks which were opened after three years of conservation works. The participants had the possibility to see the remnants of the Auschwitz III-Monowitz camp, taking part in a field lecture given by Dr. Piotr Setkiewicz, Head of the Museum Research Centre. They also visited the area of the former Jawischowitz sub-camp in Brzeszcze.
An important element of the visit of the Israeli guests was getting familiar with the history of the town, particularly focused on its Jewish inhabitants. That is why they visited the town, the Jewish cemetery and the Auschwitz Jewish Center. The visit in Oświęcim ended with a ride along one of the routes of the so-called “Death Marches” from Oświęcim to Gliwice and a visit at an active Jewish cemetery in Gliwice, where the participants met the members of the Jewish Religious Community in Katowice.
The seminar’s agenda also included lectures dedicated, i.a. to the fate of various groups of victims of the Auschwitz camp, the role of the camp in the Nazi program of extermination of European Jews, the SS staff in Auschwitz, but also ways of education implemented today at the Memorial and teaching about the Holocaust in Poland. The participants could become familiar with facets of work at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum by visiting such places as the Archives and Collections, but also discuss and exchange experience with the educators working at the Memorial.
The off-site part of the seminar included spending three days in Cracow, where the participants visited the Kazimierz district and the area of former Cracow Ghetto. In one of the departments of the Historical Museum of the City of Cracow – Schindler’s Factory – they learned the history of the city during German occupation. An important element of the trip was participation in two lectures dedicated to relations between Jews and Poles, and the importance of Auschwitz in the collective consciousness of the latter.
During the second part of the seminar the participants visited places both directly connected with the history of Jews and the Holocaust and those linked with the history of Poland. The Israeli educators visited, among other, the former Gross-Rosen concentration camp. They also learned the Jewish history of Wrocław. The seminar ended in Warsaw, where the guests visited such places as the Warsaw Uprising Museum, the emerging Museum of the History of Polish Jews and places associated with the history of the Warsaw Ghetto.
“The seminar was very interesting and informative. Especially the lectures dedicated to the history of the Jews in Poland after the Holocaust, which I knew very little about. The activities related to this topic were particularly important to me” wrote Aviya Doron, one of the participants.