Projectguggenheim in Poland
Lublin has been called the
Polish Jerusalem, and the Jewish Oxford, because it was an autonomous center
of Yiddish and Hebrew culture since the second half of the 15th c. The
beginning of Lublin's greatness is dated to the arrival of Rabb. Jacob of
Trento whose presence indicated the existence of a strong religious
community called a kahal.
In 1602 one fourth of the inhabitants of Lublin,(8000) were Jews, by 1865
the figure rose to close to 13,000, or 52 percent of the inhabitants, and by
1931 there were close to 39,000 Jews.
Most everyone was murdered by the Nazis. On 24 Marchl942 the children and
the elderly from the Jewish shelter were transported to the Tatary meadows
on the outskirts of Lublin and shot dead by the Nazis. Such was the fate of
the teaching staff who accompanied the children at their own request. On the
same date several officials of the Jewish community were deported to the
extermination camp at Belzec. During the liquidation of the Jewish ghetto
the square opposite the shelter was used by the Nazis to select Jews for
deportation to the concentration camps.
A commemorative plaque is attached to the front wall of the building which
now houses the Youth Cultural Center. The absence of Jews in Lublin is
therefore a void, and our curriculum hopes to give the children of Lublin
the means to fill it in a positive way.
Our Curriculum does not focus on the Holocaust but on the literary and
cultural achievements of the Jewish community, and on the meaning and
significance of Judaism and the Jewish tradition The program is developed by
PROJECTGUGGENHEIM together with the AMERICAN POLISH JEWISH STUDIES
The Curriculum is being designed with the help of Professor Monika Adamczyk
Gabrowska of the Institute for Jewish Research at Maria Sklodowska
University in Lublin and a group of talented Polish teachers who volunteered
from the Lublin school system After a Teacher's Training Seminar in November
2001 plans for publication are being made by Marta Kubiszyn and Gregorz Zuk
of the Brama Grodzka- Teatr NN.
Pictures from a walk through the old Jewish cemetery of Lublin by a group of
Polish children . The children got together afterwards to discuss their
experience and to express their feelings through their art.