A few years ago, my husband – an artist – was invited to contribute to a Polish-German youth program organized by Borussia Foundation from Olsztyn. A group of pupils participated in workshops, learned about the history of Jews in Olsztyn and the biography of Olsztyn-born architect of Jewish heritage, Erich Mendelsohn. They also created matzevah-inspired ice sculptures on the premises of the local Jewish cemetery. By lucky coincidence, soon after the “Ice cemetery” project, Borussia foundation was looking for an associate. This is how I started working at Mendelsohn House, where for almost four years now I have been involved in a number of cultural and educational activities promoting multicultural dialogue, including that related to Olsztyn’s Jewish culture and heritage as well as Polish/Jewish dialogue.
I coordinate Borussia Foundation’s cultural program. The foundation is responsible for the maintenance of the Jewish cemetery as well as a Jewish heritage site – Beit Tahara building designed by Erich Mendelsohn. In the course of the last 10 years, Borussia Foundation adapted the building for the needs of Mendelsohn House’s Center for Intercultural Dialogue, a site for civic education and independent culture, which organizes events presenting the architect’s oeuvre throughout the year, teaches about the multicultural history of Olsztyn and the region as well as fosters intercultural dialogue.
I am involved in a whole range of activities related to Polish/Jewish matters. Aside from daily duties connected to the maintenance of the Jewish cemetery, we are constantly seeking funds for maintenance of the Beit Tahara and its further revitalization. To this end, we organize annual charity fundraisers and art auctions, proceeds from which go towards covering the building’s maintenance and furnishing costs.