Each year, the AJC welcomes volunteers and interns from around the world. Many young people from countries neighboring Poland serve on behalf of the Holocaust Memorial Service, an alternative experience to mandatory military service. This question and answer conversation is with our volunteer Frederike (Rieke) Csutor, whose hometown is Berlin, Germany. We’re very glad that Rieke chose to work with us.
What attracted you to the AJC?
I visited the AJC three years ago during a school trip to Oświęcim and I talked a lot with the volunteers who were doing their service at this time. They recommended I apply to Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste (Action Reconciliation Service for Peace). During a selection seminar I remembered Oświęcim and I read the report from the AJC. I already did internships in museums before and I liked the focus of this museum: to teach the mostly unknown Jewish history of Oświęcim through guided tours and workshops.
What are you enjoying most about your volunteer experience?
I most enjoy leading guided tours in the museum and especially through the Jewish cemetery. It is always touching to show people that at least some small piece of the big Jewish community survived. Also, I like to point out the grave of Szymon Kluger who was the last Jewish resident of Oświęcim.
How has volunteering affected you?
I had a lot of different experiences here. I learned a lot about working with groups and how to explain and present information to people of different backgrounds. I also expanded my personal knowledge not only about topics connected with my work but also about things I never really thought about. This is because of my interactions with many people from different cities, regions, and nations.
What is one thing you’d like others to know about the AJC or think people don’t know?
I want people to know that we offer a workshop about the Jewish history of Oświęcim in addition to guided tours through the museum.
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 Spring 2019 newsletter articles are found here.