Hometown: Thalheim bei Wels, Upper Austria
What attracted you to the AJC?
Primarily the location. You can fulfill your Holocaust Memorial Service anywhere in the world, but here you are immediately confronted with the crime. And when I researched the AJC I was especially fascinated because it completely changed my perspective on Auschwitz. Before, I saw it as most people do: as the ultimate symbol of the Holocaust, but now I understood that Auschwitz is so much more. Oświęcim has a 500-year Jewish history! And so I decided to come here, to tell the story of Oshpitzin because if you don’t know what was lost, you cannot understand the loss.
What are you enjoying most about volunteering at the AJC?
Two things. First, I can train my English, talk in front of people, and learn how to handle groups. Also I simply like explaining, telling stories. I really enjoy the freedom we volunteers have at the AJC. We can start our own projects and use Café Bergson as a resource. This is just great!
How has volunteering affected you?
Well, honestly I still don’t know. I am here just for two months and have eight to go, so I cannot tell how this experience will change me. But it definitely will. Already I feel more comfortable talking in front of many people, and my knowledge concerning Judaism and the history of Poland and Europe skyrocketed.
What is the one thing you want others to know about the AJC?
Actually that it exists! I feel like most visitors to Oświęcim just go to the camp and that’s it. So they lack these crucial perspectives we provide here at the AJC.
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: https://mjhnyc.org/tag/ajc. All Winter 2017 newsletter articles are found here.