Reconnecting Ties

A visit of the American University of Paris group

October 2017

In mid-October 2017, a group of students and professors from the American University of Paris came to Poland. Their visit was focused on Holocaust memory in Poland both on the national and local level. Monika Czub, a Leader of Dialogue from Otwock and Karczew, was a great help in regard to the latter. Why was the group interested by Otwock?

It started with a large article published by the New York Times about this town located near Warsaw. After reading it, the group leaders wanted to see for themselves how this once famous Jewish resort, a town with 70% of Jewish population before World War II, looks today.

photo: J.Szkarłat

The meeting with Monika Czub, a Leader of Dialogue from Otwock, began in the villa of the Museum of Otwock Area. After sharing stories and presenting the activities of local experts for commemoration of Jews from Otwock, the Leader of Dialogue took the group to the Jewish cemetery in the nearby Karczew. The cemetery made a huge impression on the participants who wanted to explore it on their own. The group was also shown the renowned Świdermajer buildings (a distinct Polish architectural style), as well as the most important sites connected to the Jewish past of the town.  The tour ended in the area of the ghetto from WWII, which now is the square commemorating the Jews of Otwock. Monika Czub presented there the newly erected local commemoration – a memorial boulder unveiled on the 75th anniversary of the deportation of Jews from Otwock.

The meeting in Otwock gave the AUP students an opportunity to learn about the practical effects of Holocaust memorialization in Poland. Thanks to Monika Czub and her expert knowledge they were able to get acquainted with the history of the place that until today lives on in memories.