About the Auschwitz Jewish Center
Before Auschwitz became the ultimate symbol of the Holocaust, it was just an ordinary Polish town known as Oświęcim. The majority of its citizens were Jewish. Generations of merchants, rabbis, doctors and lawyers raised families there and contributed to a richly textured Jewish culture. In September of 2000, the Auschwitz Jewish Center opened its doors to honor the former residents of the town and to teach future generations about what was lost. It is the only remaining Jewish presence in the town.
The Auschwitz Jewish Center (AJC) is located less than two miles from Auschwitz-Birkenau. It is the mission of the AJC, in the shadow of the camps, to juxtapose the enormity of the destruction of human life with the vibrant lives of the Jewish people who once lived in the adjacent town and throughout Poland.
The AJC’s mission is also to provide all visitors with an opportunity to memorialize victims of the Holocaust through the study of the life and culture of a formerly Jewish town and to offer educational programs that allow new generations to explore the meaning and contemporary implications of the Holocaust. The AJC is a place of understanding, education, memory, and prayer for all people.
Watch a video about the Auschwitz Jewish Center.
The facilities include the Chevra Lomdei Mishnayot Synagogue, the only remaining synagogue in the once predominantly Jewish town, and the Kornreich House, which houses an exhibition on pre-War Jewish life and rotating special exhibitions, as well as venues for meetings and educational programs.
For information about the AJC, visit www.ajcf.org.
Download a brochure in English: Part 1, Part 2; or Hebrew.
To arrange a visit, contact the AJC’s offices in Oświęcim at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Museum of Jewish Heritage at 646.437.4276.
The AJC and Museum Together
In 2006, the AJC and the Museum united: both organizations share a commitment to commemoration and education, not only about the tragedy of the Holocaust, but also about the rich culture of the Jewish people. And both believe in the power of personal artifacts and testimony to communicate. The addition of AJC to the Museum broadens the reach and expands the capacity of both institutions.
Together the AJC and Museum offer four educational programs:
Auschwitz Jewish Center Program for Students Abroad (AJC PSA)
“I am honored to have been a part of the Program for Students Abroad. It was a great mix of tours, history, present culture, and important education. I absolutely recommend this program.” -2011 PSA Participant
APPLY HERE for the Fall 2016 AJC PSA, established in 2010 as long-weekend programs in Kraków open to students of all backgrounds. The program, which includes a scholarly visit to Oświęcim/Auschwitz, provides an academic environment through which participants engage intensively with the history of the Holocaust and Jewish life in Poland.
The program takes place during fall and spring semesters and is facilitated by American and Polish staff of the Auschwitz Jewish Center, under the auspices of the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York. During the program, meals, accommodation, entrance fees, and transportation are provided.
**FALL 2016 DATES**
October 6-9 (deadline September 6)
College and graduate students of all religious, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds and majors are eligible to apply - find details in the Eligbility FAQ link below. All programs begin Thursday evening and end Sunday evening. Housing is available Sunday evening upon request. Need-based partial fee waivers are available for the $375 program fee. Participants are responsible for arranging individual transportation to and from Kraków.
Please contact DBramson@mjhnyc.org with questions.
Auschwitz Jewish Center Fellows Program
The Auschwitz Jewish Center Fellows Program is a three week study trip for students who are matriculated in graduate programs or are completing undergraduate degrees in 2012 in Holocaust studies and related fields. After a brief orientation in New York City, the Fellows travel in Poland for three weeks, during which time they visit Krakow, Warsaw, Lódź, Treblinka, and Oświęcim (Auschwitz). The Fellows travel to small towns in the regions surrounding Warsaw and Krakow, as well as through south-eastern Poland and north-eastern Slovakia, to explore the area’s rich Jewish heritage and meet with local leaders to learn about pre-war Jewish life, life under the Nazi occupation and Communism, and the state of Jewish communities and memory in Poland today.
In Oświęcim, the Fellows attend an intensive program at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum where they tour the camps, study the history of Jewish, Roma, and Polish inmates, and take part in workshops with Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum staff on the collections and education departments. While in Oswiecim, the Fellows have the opportunity to meet European students and observe educational workshops at the Auschwitz Jewish Center.
The application for the 2015 AJC Fellows Program is available by clicking here. The application for 2015 is now closed. The application for 2016 will be available in fall 2015.
This program is supported by The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
2017 Human Rights Today Summer Academy
The Auschwitz Jewish Center and Museum of Jewish Heritage, in partnership with the Center for European Studies at Jagiellonian University, is pleased to offer a two week for-credit summer program in Poland, open to students and early career professionals. HRT is taught by top scholars in the field. More information coming soon. Please contact DBramson@mjhnyc.org with questions.
American Service Academies Program
The United States Service Academy Program is a 16-day educational initiative in Poland created by the Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation (AJCF) for a select group of cadets and midshipmen from the academies for the U.S. Military, Naval, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Focusing on the Holocaust and related contemporary moral and ethical considerations, this in situ program provides an authentic learning experience for future military officers that extends beyond what they are taught in the classrooms of their respective academies. The poignancy of the setting not only educates them about the past, but also stimulates dialogue about history's relationship to the present and the future. Within this framework the Academy students are challenged to understand what can happen in the absence of open and democratic governing institutions — when evil is given free reign, when fear overpowers ethics, and when democratic ideals are not defended.
This program is supported in part by The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Inc. and Joan Felder in memory of Marvin Felder.
The Auschwitz Jewish Center B'nai Mitzvah Program
Educators, families, and students can add another layer of significance to one of the most important days in a Jewish child's life. The AJC B'nai Mitzvah Program invites Bar and Bat Mitzvah students to share their simcha with a child from Oświęcim (the town the Germans called Auschwitz) who perished in the Holocaust or who was unable to commemorate this milestone because of the war. Bar or Bat Mitzvah students will receive curriculum kits with background information about a child and his or her life before the war, as well as questions and activities designed to help students to reflect on Jewish life, the Holocaust, and the milestone they are reaching in their own lives.
For more information, contact Shiri Sandler at SSandler@mjhnyc.org or 646.437.4276.
Auschwitz Jewish Center Customized Programs
“The program did so much more than meet my expectations. I went into this program viewing it as an academic exercise of critical analysis, which in some ways it was. However, I also had a powerful experience that changed the way I view many different aspects of not only my studies, but my own life. The support offered by the program staff, as well as classmates created an environment that made this experience possible.” -2013 Customized Program Participant, Macalester College
The Auschwitz Jewish Center is now pleased to offer customized programs year-round in Poland for academic and private groups of all sizes. The AJC will build a program tailored to meet your needs and goals. Our staff are available to make logistical arrangements, accompany your group throughout the experience, guide tours, give lectures, and facilitate educational discussions and reflection. Staff bios are available upon request. .
Many customized programs use our “Program for Students Abroad” syllabus as a model. A sample syllabus for this Krakow and Oświęcim based program can be found here. We can also create programs for your group in other Polish cities and of different lengths, and can coordinate arrangements including, but not limited to:
- Hotel accommodations
- Ground transportation
- Testimony and lectures with academics from local universities
- Academic components: pre-trip reading, discussion outline, and guidance throughout trip
For more information, please contact AJC Coordinator Dara Bramson at DBramson@mjhnyc.org.