Each year, the Auschwitz Jewish Center (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 Yevheniia (Jane) Batina, whose hometown is Kharkiv, Ukraine. We’re very glad that Jane chose to work with us.

AJC Volunteer Jane Batina
Jane holds an advertisement for The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity annual fundraiser (the largest in Poland) to improve healthcare for people in need. Each year the money is donated towards a different group. In addition to the annual fundraiser, the non-profit organizes a large event with substantive discussions on human rights. It is a tradition at the AJC that we put out the collection box each year and treat other volunteers collecting money for this fundraiser to free hot drinks in Café Bergson.

What attracted you to the AJC?
After my Master’s studies, I had a desire to work in a modern European museum as an intern or volunteer. I wanted to see and learn how museums work behind the scenes. The AJC attracted me because its exhibition focuses on the life of the Jewish community of Oświęcim, not only about death.

What are you enjoying most about your volunteer experience?
I most enjoyed the people I interacted with at the AJC. Especially meeting people from around the world, having the opportunity to talk with them, to guide them through the museum, and to share my knowledge and to learn from them.

How has volunteering affected you?
I will answer the same – I was impacted most by the people I met. I learned to communicate in different languages with people who had different cultural experiences. I learned to trust, to accept, and to care about others.

What is one thing you’d like others to know about the AJC or think people don’t know?
I think visiting the AJC helps to contextualize the Holocaust. Learning about the history, culture, and religion of Jews before the war makes knowledge about the Holocaust more valuable. It highlights what the world lost during the Holocaust.

The Auschwitz Jewish Center is operated by the Museum in Oświęcim, Poland. Click here for additional blog entries by and about the Auschwitz Jewish Center. All Fall 2019 newsletter articles are found here.