2nd transnational partner meeting in Krakow, Poland
After ten months of intensive work on the HANNAH project, the HANNAH project consortium – Jugend- & Kulturprojekt e.V., CENTROPA, The Jewish Museum of Greece, ReadLab, Terraforming and the Galicia Jewish Museum – managed to meet in person for the first time from 28-30 October at the 2nd transnational partner meeting in Krakow, Poland 2021 hosted and organised by the Galicia Jewish Museum.
Our host, Bartosz Duszynski, Assistant in the Education Department of the Galicia Jewish Museum, warmly welcomed us in the evening at a unique place in the heart of the Jewish district Kazimierz, the well-known „Klezmer-Hois“ (The House of the Klezmer), a 14th century building which used to be a ritual bathhouse, 100 meters from the Remuh Synagogue which has been turned into a restaurant and hotel, as well as a bookshop and event venue. Its fascinating decor and ambience inspired us to keep on talking for hours long and thus getting each other better.
On the next day, we were welcomed by Jakub Nowakowski, director of the Galicia Jewish Museum who guided us at the permanent exhibition of the museum „Traces of Memory“ offering a very different and contemporary perspective of the Jewish past in Poland based on the photographic material and research of Professor Jonathan Webber.
The partners‘ meeting started then, and we had the opportunity to discuss with our partners the the progress of our work, the deadlines of the outputs and activities which should be produced and delivered respectively the next months. Myrto-Helena Pertsinidi, Project Manager of Jugend- & Kulturprojekt e.V., coordinated the discussion and each partner that was leading a specific output, presented what they achieved until then, shared with the group if they encountered any particular challenges and discussed any possible solutions.
All partners are planning during the month of October the implementation of the face-to-face HANNAH training seminars that will take place in the partners‘ cities – Athens, Dresden, Hamburg, Krakow and Novi Sad – based on the training material prepared by all partners under the coordination of the Jewish Museum of Greece. The HANNAH face-to-face training seminars aim to raise raise awareness about Jewish life and offer a better understanding of Jewish traditions, the history and contribution of Jewish people in Europe before and after the Shoah, with a focus on local contexts of Dresden, Hamburg, Athens, Thessaloniki, Novi Sad and Krakow, and research as well as foster schoolteachers, librarians, archivists and young people’s knowledge and education about the Shoah, and develop new forms of remembrance in the light of dwindling knowledge about the Holocaust.
The training material of the HANNAH online training course, coordinated by the Jewish Museum of Greece, is expected to be soon completed giving the possibility to more school teachers, librarians and archivists from the partners‘ countries and beyond to expand their knowledge on Jewish history, culture and the Holocaust.
By the end of this year, the Digital Repository of Antisemitic Narratives which includes the main antisemitic narratives and corresponding, debunking responses coordinated by Terraforming, is expected to be delivered.
After lunch at the Galicia Jewish Museum, a guided tour with Anna Wencel, educator of the museum, was held at the permanenent exhibition of the museum under the title “10 Polish Cities—Ten Jewish Stories”, created by GJM in cooperation with Centropa. This exhibition is based on the personal stories and family photographs of ten Polish Jews in ten different cities of Poland. In the evening, we joined a fascinating 3-hour guided tour with Bartosz Wencel who incited us to immerse ourselves in the Jewish history of Kazimierz district, exploring its hidden Jewish treasures.
Being quite overwhelmed with mixed emotions and thoughts about the Jewish past of Krakow and the fact that much of its Jewish history is not really known by a big part of the Polish population, we continued our evening having a private boat tour on the river Vistula, with wine and magnificent scenic views to the Old Town while sharing our impressions and thoughts.
We started the next day with the partners‘ meeting where we discussed the Manual of the Educational Graphic Novel coordinated by Terraforming which is going to include guidelines on how to create such a novel that includes dramatised stories based on real people and historical events, while the illustrations and the narrative are interwoven with the interactive access to archival documents, historical photographs, films, posters, maps and other multimedia materials. We also shared our experiences on the oral history interviews with second generation Holocaust conducted by the Jewish Museum of Greece, the Galicia Jewish Museum, Terraforming and Jugend- & Kulturprojekt e.V. and discussed certain difficulties and challenges that we encountered in the pre-production and the production phases. Another important output we discussed was the HANNAH Documentary film. Our partners were excited to watch the draft episode about Krakow, produced by the JKPeV team which led then to a long discussion on the pre-work we did and the painstaking production work which was mainly done by our film maker, Olga Yocheva. Also, we discussed the project website and the Virtual Learning Environment coordinated by ReadLab that will host the HANNAH online training course and we set deadlines for the finalization of the VLE. Another important point which we focused on for which CENTROPA is responsible, was the dissemination of the project results and the promotion of the HANNAH face-to-face training seminars and the online traning course. We discussed how we can reach the target groups of the project and what kind of information we should share with the wider public so that more people learn about the HANNAH project and become interested to participate in its training activities and the upcoming events.
After the lunch break, Bartosz Wencel guided us around the grounds of KL Plaszow – focusing on the issues of preserving memory. Opinions are divided over what to do with former Nazi German concentration camp KL Plaszow in Kraków. Despite the fact that it is a resting place of thousands of prisoners, the area of the camp has become a space used by local residents for recreation. This has made commemoration a challenge, with plans to create a museum at the site arousing opposition. The Plaszow camp was created on the orders of the German occupying powers in autumn 1942 on an area that included private homes, several institutions and two Jewish cemeteries. It was set up as a forced labour camp particularly for the local Jewish population, but Polish Christian prisoners, Roma and Jews transported from Romania and Hungary were soon also brought there to work.The March of Remembrance, which takes place annually since late 1980s on the anniversary of the liquidation of the Kraków ghetto, gathers increasing numbers of people marching from Plac Bohaterów Getta (Ghetto Heroes’ Square) to the site of the Plaszow camp, to pay homage at the monument to the murdered Jews and pray for the victims of the Holocaust.
The highlight of the day was a meeting with Mrs. Mirosława Gruszczyńska – the Righteous Among the Nations – who shared with us a story of humanity and solidarity. Miroslawa’s family sheltered a young Jewish girl during the Second World War, named Marysia (Anna Allerhand) whose family was sent to concentration and labour camps and for several months she lived with the family of Miroslawa being hidden. Meeting the 91-year old Miroslawa who was back then a little girl was a tremendous experience for the HANNAH project partners. The expression of Miroslawa’s face, her vivid memories narrated so coherently, made us feel part of this incredible story. We think then that in wars there are always victims, perpetrators and some known or unknown heroes who remind us that humanity and solidarity will always prevail no matter what. We discussed the challenges and difficulties when working with witnesses of history and their role in education and shared our experiences.
The 2nd transnational partner meeting was officially closed having a wonderful dinner on a boat restaurant on Vistula river feeling already nostalgic about this unforgettable experience while reflecting on what we learned and looking forward to our next meeting in Hamburg which will be held from 15-17 March 2022.
Photo Archive HANNAH project
* The project is co-funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme of the European Commission.
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