Grzegorz Kamiński

Toszek/Gliwice

Leaders

As a history teacher I wanted my students to share my passion for local history and their hometown’s past, of which the preserved Jewish heritage is an important part. So began my adventure with commemorating the Jewish history in the region.

I studied history, which I now teach. My interests include the history of Toszek’s Catholic parish as well as the town’s past and photography. I collect prewar postcards from Toszek and Wielowieś municipality. I am also interested in model-making – I collect toy soldier figures, of which I own around three thousand. I am an associate of the Municipal Museum in Gliwice, Silesian Risings Museum in Świętochłowice and the Central Museum of Firefighting in Mysłowice.

Since 2002, I have been actively involved in popularizing Jewish history and culture in Gliwice and the region. Together with my pupils and with the assistance of the local authorities, I conducted maintenance works at four Jewish cemeteries in Gliwice district: Wielowieś, Toszek, Pyskowice and Sośnicowice.

I propagate history through district-wide history and art competitions on Jewish-related topics, experiential history classes conducted at Jewish cemeteries, photography exhibitions, educational initiatives held annually on the anniversary of Kristallnacht and talks on Gliwice region’s Jewish heritage. I give guided tours of the local Jewish cemeteries and sites of the former synagogues. I am actively involved in European Cultural Heritage Days. Together with Piotr Piwowarczyk, I was an initiator for naming Toszek’s middle school after Irena Sendler. I sponsored the plaque on the site of Toszek’s former synagogue. I participated in seminars organized by Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Memorial de la Shoah in Paris, House of the Wannsee Conference in Berlin and Forum for Dialogue foundation in Warsaw.

Where do I see the meaning of my activism? In saving the memory of my region’s Jewish residents from oblivion; residents, who together with Poles and Germans shaped local history. I am proud that together we saved heritage sites in our region and my students are thus able to learn about the history of local Jewish heritage.

Grzegorz Kamiński

Toszek/Gliwice