2020 Online School of Dialogue

Students' accomplishments

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Watch this fantastic short animation to learn about the commemorations the students of the School of Dialogue created: fourteen schools, 22 teachers, and 200 students took up the challenge to go digital and explore the past of their town to commemorate its Jewish community despite the pandemic. You may learn more about their amazing accomplishments here.

On February 17, a jury consisting of Forum for Dialogue Scholarly Advisory Board’s members Prof. Stanisław Krajewski and Prof. Mikołaj Herbst as well as representatives of Forum’s Board and team Jakub Petelewicz, Monika Halaczek, and Agnieszka Mierzwa met and chose the best commemorative projects:

Best Commemorative Projects created by School of Dialogue students in 2020:

Transportation and Power Engineering School Complex in Chełm

The students have woven into the fabric of their town stories of Jews whose biographies they discovered while researching for the project.

They interviewed Shlomit Beck, whose family came from Chełm and who now lives in Israel, to hear about her family story. The results of the conversation, in Polish and English, were posted on a dedicated website. They went on a walking tour of Chełm with her to trace the memories and locate places from archival photos.

They commemorated two important events pertaining to the annihilation of the Jews of Chełm. On the anniversary of the Death March of the local Jewish community , the students read Survivors’ testimonies documented in the Chełm Book of Memory. On the anniversary of the ghetto liquidation, in cooperation with the regional museum, they organized a walking tour of the Chełm ghetto.

All their activities were documented and shared as short films, podcast episodes, and an online photo gallery, in addition to an online map of Jewish sites of their town.

National Education Commission High School in Dynów

The aim of the students responsible for the School of Dialogue in Dynów was to share the knowledge of the Jewish history of their town as broadly as possible among their peers, families, and the local community.

They used a variety of sources, including interviews with elderly family members, as well as archival materials found in foreign databases online to present the history of Jews in Dynów on a special blog. The site also contained histories of particular Jewish families as well as a recording of one of the students performing a Polish rendition of “Mayn Shtetele Belz.”

They spared no effort to make sure that the virtual map of Jewish sites of their town and the accompanying blog were well publicized in the community, including information online and in local media, and flyers distributed around the town in shops. They even got the City Council to publish the link to their project on its official website.

The virtual map of Dynów Jewish sites is available in English, so that it is  accessible to the descendants of Jews from Dynów living all around the world, who might want to visit the town virtually or, at some future date, offline.

Emilia Plater High School no 2 in Sosnowiec

The rich history of Jewish Sosnowiec was reflected in the diverse activities undertaken by the participants of the Online School of Dialogue.

The online map of Jewish Sosnowiec prepared by the students had multiple routes and invited users to discover different parts of town. The students also contributed to a new point on the map, as they had an execution site commemorated with a plaque mounted on a nearby High School fence in lieu of an information board placed there in 2016 and since damaged. The project had the full support of the local authorities.

The students regularly shared new information discovered in the course of their research of local Jewish history, including bios of famous Jews from Sosnowiec, as well as self-made videos about Jewish food or Jewish holidays on dedicated social media profiles. They also visited institutions preserving and educating about local Jewish heritage and set up an online meeting with descendants of Sosnowiec Jews. They organized meetings and talks by experts,and published and distributed flyers outlining the history of Jews in Sosnowiec.

Honorable mentions

John Paul II Elementary School in Kraśnik

Service and Business School Complex in Płock

Adam Borys Elementary School in Witkowo

Sponsors and partner institutions

The 2020 School of Dialogue program and the recognition of participants’ accomplishments were made possible thanks to the support of Friends of the Forum, Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, and individual donors from Poland and abroad.