In October 2012, Friend of the Forum, Alan Silberstein visited Piotrków Trybunalski, where his father was born and grew up. During his visit, he met with the alumni of the School for Dialogue program, who showed him around the Jewish Piotrków. The tour, prepared by the students during the School for Dialogue workshops, included a visit to the house where Alan Silberstein’s father had lived. He was greatly impressed by the students’ dedication and enthusiasm.
The meeting was also an opportunity to share knowledge: the students presented what they learned about local Jewish history, while their guest shared his family history and personal stories. After the meeting, Alan Silberstein observed that the visit was eye-opening:: “Not only do I understand the history of the Polish-Jewish community better, but I better understand the goals of the School for Dialogue.”
In July 2012, alumni of the School of Dialogue from Piotrków Trybunalski had a unique opportunity to meet the descendants of Jews from their town. Local high school students spent the entire day accompanying participants of the Shabbaton, a meeting of Jews and descendants of Jews from Piotrków.
A joint tour of Piotrków was a very moving experience for all because the Jewish guests shared their personal stories as they passed buildings or places connected to their family history.. The four Holocaust Survivors from Piotrków, who were part of the group, recounted what life was like in the city before and during the Second World War.
These testimonies, delivered in fluent Polish, made history come alive for the School of Dialogue students who could know it only from books and documents. The tour included visit to the Jewish cemetery which for some members of the group was the first opportunity to visit their ancestors’ graves.
Having spent so much emotional time with the visitors, the students gladly accepted the invitation to join the Shabbat dinner organized for the Jewish visitors. Jacek Bykowski, representative of the Piotrków City Hall, expressed satisfaction about the outcome of the School of Dialogue program and hoped for further cooperation in this field.