"Shaping the future through lessons from the past" - summary of the first part of the project
Phase one of the Polish-Israeli project "Shaping the Future through Lessons from the Past" has been concluded. The project is run jointly by the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust at the Auschwitz Museum, the Yad Vashem Institute and the Ghetto Fighters' House in Israel.
The project aims to disseminate knowledge about the history of pre-war Poland, World War II and the Holocaust in Israel by drawing attention to the multiculturalism of Polish society in the pre-war period and its related consequences. It also presents key facts about the German occupation of Poland during World War II and highlights the fate of various groups of victims in the German Nazi Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp, particularly citizens of the Second Polish Republic - Poles and Jews.
Several groups of Polish secondary school students participated in online programmes run by Yad Vashem educators. They had the opportunity to explore the exhibition at the Holocaust History Museum and participate in workshops about the diversity of the Jewish community in pre-war Poland.
In turn, the Israeli youth participated in an online programme conducted by ICEAH educators consisting of a presentation of the Auschwitz Memorial through panoramic photographs and short films, including an educational workshop entitled "Citizens of the Second Polish Republic in Auschwitz", discussing examples of the camp fate of citizens of the Second Polish Republic.
Groups of adults from Israel also participated in the project and had the opportunity to virtually see sites that were not part of the standard tour of the former camp. The programme was supplemented by multimedia presentations and lectures on camp art and the camp resistance movement.
'Our activities were aimed at a vast audience. We wanted to take advantage of the new opportunities offered by online education to reach people who, given the heavy travel restrictions during the pandemic, are currently unable to travel to the Memorial and Israel' said Anna Stańczyk, project coordinator at the ICEAH.
'The young people enjoyed the broad approach to the topic, i.e., the presentation of a holistic historical process in which one thing stems from the other. It provided them with knowledge and a better understanding of the genesis of crimes committed at Auschwitz and that it involved different groups of deportees. On the other hand, adults appreciated the opportunity to see things that are not available to all visitors on a daily basis,' added Stańczyk.
ICEAH staff also participated in a remotely conducted training of the Ghetto Fighters House in Israel, which focused on the educational philosophy and methods of working with young people used by the museum educators.
The project will continue in 2022. It will involve the exchange of Israeli educators working at Yad Vashem, the Ghetto Fighters House, and ICEAH educators. Plans are underway for two seminars in Poland and Israel to exchange experiences and foster dialogue between the two cultures - Polish and Jewish.
Financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland
within the programme “Inspiring culture”