In addition to annual AJC programs, the Center is bustling with activities throughout the year. Here’s a snapshot of an average spring day by AJC Educator Maciek Zabierowski.
10:00 a.m. The Education Center is filled with Polish high school students who are participating in the What was Oshpitzin? workshop on pre-war Jewish life in Oświęcim. The students are learning about the town’s pre-war Jewish residents by analyzing historical photographs and documents and then presenting this material to their peers. The workshop ends at the New Life exhibition, which tells stories of Holocaust survivors from Oświęcim who immigrated to Israel after the war. The students complete the morning portion of the program before visiting the former camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau.
11:00 a.m. Several Polish and international groups are touring the Jewish Museum and Chevra Lomdei Mishnayot Synagogue. AJC volunteers Dominik, Gleb and, Johannes lead the tours, explaining the little-known story of the town’s local Jewish community dating back to the mid 1500s and teaching about Jewish life. Afternoon Several individual visitors have completed self-guided tours of the AJC.
3:00 p.m. The What was Oshpitzin? workshop resumes in the Education Center with an anti-discrimination training. Students are connecting their knowledge about Auschwitz and the Holocaust with the modern day challenges of anti-Semitism, romophobia, homophobia, and other examples of intolerance. After the group watches the documentary Blue Eyed about diversity and discrimination, they discuss the power of individuals and what it means to stand up to persecution. Evening After the workshops, AJC staff and volunteers clean up, eat, and relax in preparation for evening activities. Throughout the year, the AJC hosts various cultural events for the local community including book launches, film previews, and discussions with special guests.
6:00 p.m. Several volunteers and local high school students meet in the library for the Language Discussion Club, started by Dominik, Gleb, and Johannes. The group, which meets weekly, discusses various topics including food, travel, and history. In January, AJC Coordinator Dara Bramson came from Kraków to lead a session.
The Auschwitz Jewish Center is operated by the Museum in Oświęcim, Poland. For additional blog entries by and about the Auschwitz Jewish Center, please visit mjhnyc.org/tag/ajc. All Spring 2013 newsletter articles are found here.