| 2012 |
Vocational School in Ludwik Krzywicki
Economic and Business School Complex
The Jewish settlement in Płock was one of the oldest Jewish communities in Poland, as Jews lived there from as early as 11th century. After the Swedish invasion and destruction of a great part of town buildings, the area where Jews of Płock lived remained unchanged until the World War II. There are still today tangible traces of the town’s residents – in the so-called Small Synagogue there is now the Museum of Mazovia Jews, whereas the former mikveh houses an art gallery. There are also preserved the rabbi’s house and other town houses of the former Jewish settlement, the building of Jewish hospital and the New Jewish Cemetery. The wooden sukkah are considered real treasures of Płock and a reminder of town’s Jewish residents who in the interwar period constituted 40% of its population. Several sukkahs are well preserved, others are threatened to be damaged, but they bring back the memory of town residents who died in 1941, when the Jews of Płock were transported to the camp in Działdowo and other towns near Radom.
One of the sukkahs is located in a yard opposite the Business and Economic School Complex where the School of Dialogue workshops are being organized. For the majority of students the information about Jewish community living in their town and region is quite a novelty. Before participating in the School of Dialogue workshops, young people did not realize that their town had such a rich history, they did not know that before the war it constituted a significant point on the map of the country, and that the Jewish community of Płock contributed greatly to its development. The workshops truly helped to systematize and broaden students’ knowledge about Jewish culture and religion, and constituted the first opportunity for them to learn working in a team.
When completing the program, students from the vocational school in Płock organised a walking tour around Jewish sites of Płock for their teachers and employees of the Museum of the Mazovia Jews. The tour included the former Jewish settlement where students talked about the sukkahs preserved in Płock, one of a kind in their architectural character on an European scale, and explained Jewish holidays; the Small Synagogue where they told its stormy history; the place of the former Old Synagogue whose beauty was restored in imagination thanks to the photographs. Students also talked about the role that the Jewish library and Hazomir Association of Płock played in promoting culture. They explained the history and role of mikveh, which was located in a building of today’s art gallery.
They also mentioned of famous people connected with Płock: Stefan Themerson, a writer and a creator of the pre-war art cinema, famous Jewish artists Dawid Tuszyński and Natan Korzeń, and Edward Flatau, a father of Polish neurology. At the end of the walk, the tour participants commemorated Jews from the ghetto in Płock who were transported and murdered.
In addition, young people from Płock gathered a collection of archival photographs which were used for the display in class about the history and traditions of Polish Jews. To document the project, students created a multimedia presentation with photos they took.
Vocational School in Ludwik Krzywicki Economic and Business School Complex
first year students
Adam Gąsecki, Agnieszka Witkowska
In appreciation to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) for supporting this educational program. Through recovering the assets of the victims of the Holocaust, the Claims Conference enables organizations around the world to provide education about the Shoah and to preserve the memory of those who perished.
In appreciation to Friends of the Forum for supporting the School of Dialogue educational program.