Thanks to volunteers, an English translation of Cracow’s “Memorial Books” will be produced.
Students from the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme at the British International School of Cracow have undertaken the task of translating into English the “Memorial Books” dedicated to the transports of Poles to KL Auschwitz from Cracow and other towns in southern Poland. It is the educational aspect of the “Common Memory” project run by the Bureau for Former Prisoners at the Museum Archives.
‘The students visited the Memorial Site and received a five-volume monograph of KL Auschwitz and a book version of the Memorial Books. With these, it is much easier to understand the historical context. The students have taken the initiative through forming online groups, have designated a group leader, and are looking forward to working on their first translation. Once completed, translations will be sent to teachers for proof-reading and then to the museum,’ said Patrick Lagendijk, internship coordinator at the British International School of Cracow.
The “Memorial Books” were published jointly by the Museum and the Auschwitz Preservation Society between 2000 and 2013. They were dedicated to Polish citizens deported to the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz from the Warsaw, Cracow, Radom, and Lublin districts of the General Government, as well as the Wartheland established on territories annexed to the Third Reich.
The books contain lists of prisoners, historical studies, and rich iconographic material. The names have been published on the Museum’s website since 2006. The database is updated thanks to documents obtained through a joint project of the Bureau for Former Prisoners and the Arolsen Archives and information from families.
Work is underway to improve the search for both names and information on transports of prisoners to Auschwitz. The online database will also include an interactive map illustrating deportations to the camp, studies from the Memorial Books and translations performed by students of the BIS in Cracow.
‘The Polish version is already completed. However, the English version is missing and will be produced with the help of the volunteers. At the moment, we are proceeding with the translation of the Cracow books. However, we hope that the project will be developed further. We encourage schools of a similar profile from other regions of Poland to participate in this undertaking,’ said Anna Jawień from the Bureau for Former Prisoners, who coordinates work with the volunteers.
‘The students understand that they are part of something greater, that they, by their very work, are helping to preserve the memory of the past. The "Księga Pamięci" project is also about uncovering the history behind the history, and in so doing gain a greater appreciation of the lives lived and suffered by others,’ Patrick Lagendijk underlined.
‘We hope that in the course of their work, students will become interested in the fates of particular prisoners and that these stories can influence their attitudes and encourage them to fight against intolerance, racism, antisemitism and xenophobia,’ Ewa Bazan added.
Under the “Common Memory” project, we are working with several dozen students from high schools in Tychy and Oświęcim and the Calvary Captain Witold Pilecki State University of Lesser Poland.
Teachers and schools interested in translating other studies from the Memorial Books: Warsaw, Lublin, Radom and the Wartheland should contact the Bureau for Former Prisoners.