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May 19th, 2018

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We are now in the middle of the second round of workshops in all the 20 schools of the 2018 School of Dialogue spring semester. In three of them the workshops are conducted with the support of local institutions. In Czeladź students are working in cooperation with Muzeum Saturn w Czeladzi (Saturn Museum), cultural institution located in the historic villa formerly belonging to “Saturn” coalmine director. In Pacanów the workshops are organized in collaboration with Centrum Bajki w Pacanowie (Fairytale Center), and in Radziejów students are assisted by experts working in a local public library.

Students from Pacanów are also preparing to host a very special guest in the course of 3rd and 4th workshops – their school will be visited by Jasmine Bakalarz, an acclaimed photographer from Buenos Aires, whose grandparents lived in Pacanów and who recently conducted an artistic project during the artist-in-residence period at POLIN Museum.

May 10th, 2018

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96

meetings

65

places

Forum’s School of Dialogue students and Leaders of Dialogue go to great pains to learn about and preserve what is left of the Jewish communities of their small towns, but they rarely have an opportunity to interact with representatives of contemporary Jewish community. It is important that these people, dedicated to the Jews of the past, meet Jews of the present. The Jews who come to Poland often do not have a chance to talk with the residents of Poland, focused on a usually demanding itinerary, but their image of contemporary Poland is incomplete without contacting people on the ground. That is why, since 2010 Forum has been organizing Meetings between participants of our programs in Poland and Jewish visitors from abroad, often with familial connections to Poland. Thanks to these meetings the students and the Leaders see that people with an investment in Jewish history of Poland recognize and value their efforts, while the visitors have interested and sympathetic guides to navigate the often-alien landscape of contemporary Poland.

List of places

Contributors

The program is co-financed by Malka and Pinek Krystal Scholarship Fund.

April 23rd, 2018

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We are deeply saddened by the passing of Holocaust Survivor Aaron Elster, who died on April 11, 2018. He was a wonderful speaker and person, always ready to share his experiences with the Polish participants of the Polish Jewish Exchange Program run by Forum in cooperation with the AJC. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Aaron Elster’s family, friends, and co-workers.

Aaron Elster was a child Survivor of the Holocaust. He escaped the liquidation of the Sokołów Podlaski Ghetto and found refuge in the attic of a Polish family, where he hid for two years until the war’s end. He came to the U.S. in 1947, was educated in Chicago and served in the armed forces in Korea. He was an active member of the community and served as Vice President at Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center. He was the co-author of “I Still See Her Haunting Eyes,” which chronicles his Holocaust experiences. Aaron Elster continued to speak extensively about his experiences and lessons of the Holocaust. In 2015, he reflected on the purpose of tirelessly sharing his testimony: “When I speak to children every day at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, I ask that they take away two ideas from my story. First, you must believe in yourself … Second, I want children to learn that prejudice and indifference will only lead to hatred and violence that will impact innocent lives, including their own. As the decision makers of tomorrow, our children must engage in the creation of new stories that speak to a more hopeful world that doesn’t echo our past.”

photo: M.Rancewicz

April 13th, 2018

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March 12th, 2018

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George Elbaum, a Warsaw-born Holocaust Survivor and the author of “Neither Yesterdays, Nor Tomorrows. Vignettes from the Holocaust” was a special guest during the 2017 School of Dialogue Gala, where he delivered a powerful speech before an audience of over 1,200 people, including School of Dialogue students, their teachers, representatives of local government, as well as Forum friends and allies, journalists, artists, politicians and diplomats. After the Gala he traveled to Legionowo, Żyrardów and Mińsk Mazowiecki to meet with students. Young audiences were very moved and a lively Q&A sessions followed afterwards.  Students in all three towns lined up to have their copy of the book signed. George Elbaum ended his visit to Poland with meeting with Forum for Dialogue’s office staff and School of Dialogue educators team.

photos: D.Kawka, W.Dobrogojski, M.Usiekniewicz, M.Jensen, M.Piekarska

March 10th, 2018

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The 2017 School of Dialogue Gala was preceded by an NGO expo. We are grateful to all the organizations’ representatives for sharing their knowledge with Gala’s participants – the NGOs and institutions present at the expo included POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Humanity in Action Polska, Polish History Museum, Stacja Muranów, JCC Warszawa, Polska Debatuje, Towarzystwo Krajobraz and Jan Karski Educational Foundation.

March 5th, 2018

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Before the new School of Dialogue educators start to lead their workshops, first they have to go through an intensive training process. In February 2018 a set of training workshops took place. During an intense week in Konstancin participants mastered their facilitating skills, learned the methods of Forum’s work, deepened their knowledge about the history and culture of the Polish Jews and Israel as well as ways of fighting prejudice and stereotypes.

The program included lectures and meetings with experts: Prof. Michał Bilewicz, Dr. Agnieszka Haska, rabbi Małgorzata Kordowicz. Kamil Śliwowski facilitated the workshops aimed at leraning the methods of using the new media during the School of Dialogue activities. Matan Shefi gave lecture about the modern Israel. During the last two days of the training our new educators were joined by their more experienced colleagues – it was a perfect opportunity for integration and experience sharing.

photo: I.Meyza

February 26th, 2018

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With the School of Dialogue Gala exactly two weeks away, we are proudly presenting this year’s poster designed by Tymek Jezierski, an up-and-coming Polish illustrator and poster designer, featured in the Lürzer’s Archive’s selection of 200 Best Illustrators Worldwide. A recipient of many prestigious awards, his style is, according to Culture.pl, “both imaginative and comprehensible – it thus comprises features that are greatly valued in illustration. Moreover, his tendency to experiment with form and non-digital media, has led him to create projects that exceed design and lend themselves to the art exhibiting context.”

February 15th, 2018

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Thanks to the efforts of the Jewish History and Culture Department of University of Rzeszów’s Institute of History and with the support of local authorities and institutions, over 60 towns of the Podkarpackie Province honored the 10th International Holocaust Remembrance Day with commemorating ceremonies that took place on 22-28 January. It is a unique example of a area-wide cooperation unmatched by any other region. The project has been initiated by Leader of Dialogue Professor Wacław Wierzbieniec and today over 200 institutions are involved in the annual ceremonies’ organizations. You can read the complete program of the 10th International Holocaust Remembrance Day here.

Forum for Dialogue’s representatives – Jagoda Szkarłat, Leaders of Dialogue program coordinator, and Julia Machnowska, School of Dialogue program coordinator – participated in commemorating events in Gniewczyna Łańcucka, Leżajsk, Lesko, Trepcza, Dynów, Głogów Małopolski, Hłudno, Tyczyn and Rzeszów. Check out the photo galleries and short descriptions of these ceremonies below.

On January 24 the towns of Leżajsk and Gniewczyna Łańcucka commemorated the Holocaust victims of the area. Leżajsk’s ceremony’s importance was recognized by representatives of Polish and international Jewish community, with the presence of Lucia Retman, Holocaust Survivor now living in Haifa, Israel. In Gniewczyna guests gathered at the official ceremony in local church took part in an inter-faith Jewish/Christian prayer, followed by a public reading of the list of names of Jews who perished in Holocaust.

photo: J.Szkarłat

On January 25 ceremonies took place in Lesko and Trepcza. In Lesko local students read passages from Jafa Wallach’s memoirs “Bitter Freedom: Memoirs of a Holocaust Survivor”. Gathered residents participated in a meeting with Romuald Zwonarz, son of Józef and Franciszka Zwonarz, Righteous Among the Nations, who gave shelter to five Jewish fugitives from the Zasław camp during the war. Additional meetings and lectures were organized as a part of “Multiculturalism in the Bieszczady Mountains Throughout the Centuries” panel. In Trepcza, ceremony held at the local church commemorated the Jewish victims of a ghetto and labor camp located in that town.

photo: J.Szkarłat

On January 26 Forum’s representatives attended the commemorations held in Dynów, Głogów Małopolski, Hłudno and Tyczyn. In Dynów, the commemoration’s participants attended the offical opening of the Center for Youths Education ‘Three Cultures’. The program consisted of meetings, poetry and music performances, exhibitions’ openings and visit to the Center of the History of Polish Jews. Residents had a chance to met with Lucia Retman, Holocaust Survivor born in Dynów. Other guests from Israel and the USA shared their families’ Holocaust stories: Samuel, Tamar and Rachel Halpern, and David Ringler. Głogów Małopolski honored the memory of its Holocaust victims with March of Memory ending at a site of mass grave in Bór, followed by a scientific session entitled “Głogów’s Jews History and Culture – Our Common Heritage”. In Hłudno scientific session “Dynów-Brzozów’s Jewish History and Culture” was accompanied by a fil screening and an opening of the exhibition made by Paweł Rebizak and students from the Hłudno School Complex.

photo: J.Szkarłat

On January 28 our representatives took part in ceremony commemorating the Holocaust victims in Rzeszów during which prayer was recited by Rabi Shalom Ben Stambler of Chabad-Lubavitch. Lectures, meetings and choir concert organized by the JCC Krakow followed. Participants had a chance to see the exhibitions accompanying the Remembrance Day: “The Holocaust in the State Archives Database in Rzeszów” and “Memoirs of the Holocaust”.

photo: J.Szkarłat

February 1st, 2018

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