The Anne Frank House has been active in Poland for more than twenty years. The Polish version of the international Anne Frank exhibition is on tour, and many educational materials have been translated and adapted for use in Polish schools.
The travelling exhibition
The Polish tour of the international Anne Frank exhibition started in 1993. Since then it has been shown in over 80 locations. Since 2012, the project has been coordinated by the Foundation Dom Pokoju/House of Peace in Wrocław. Just as in other countries, local young people act as guides for the exhibition. The guides receive intensive training to prepare them for their responsibilities and learn a lot about the content of the exhibition and about the ways in which they can use the texts and photos during their guided tours. More information on the Polish tour of the Anne Frank exhibition can be found on the website of Dom Pokoju.
As part of the Dutch-Polish exchange programme Holocaust Education in European Perspective, a range of educational materials is being distributed to schools in the Netherlands and Poland. For example, presentations of the international Anne Frank exhibition are held in both countries, and the Polish version of the graphic novel The Search is made available to teachers. Some of the users of these products also take part in the exchange programme. The Dutch-Polish exchange programme is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Health and Welfare.
In 2011 and in 2012, two separate groups of teachers and educators took part in a study tour. Both groups started with visits to museums and institutions in the Netherlands related to the commemoration of the Holocaust, such as the former camps Westerbork and Vught.
The second leg of the trip took place in Poland in September 2012. 30 Dutch and Polish teachers and educators visited the former death camps of Sobibór, Majdanek, and Auschwitz, as well as the Museum of the Warsaw Uprising, the synagogue in Włodawa, and the Auschwitz Jewish Centre. They also visited Polish schools and met with high school students and specialists in the field of Holocaust education. One particularly poignant part of the programme was when the group met with Edward Paczkowski, a Roma survivor of Auschwitz.
During the work sessions, different approaches and methodologies in teaching about the Holocaust in both countries were discussed. As participants already knew each other from their previous meeting in the Netherlands, there was a lot of in-depth exchange of experiences and ideas.
Exhibition on Ethnic and National Minorities
In October 2012, the travelling exhibition Jestem stąd. Polska wielu narodów (I Am from Here. Poland of Many Nations) was launched. The exhibition is about cultural diversity and focuses on fifteen groups. These are groups that are officially recognised as ethnic or national minorities in Poland, among them are the Jews, Roma, Kashubians, and Silesians. The exhibition features historical information as well as photographic portraits of members of these communities. They reflect on their mixed identity, their relationship with Poland, and life within the rather homogenous Polish society. It also addresses contemporary cases of discrimination and racism, including antisemitism.
The exhibition was initiated by the Polish-German Centre in Cracow. The Anne Frank House gave advice and assisted with the fundraising. The first opening took place at the Pedagogical University in Cracow. The keynote speaker for the official opening was Professor Władysław Bartoszewski, a former prisoner of Auschwitz and former Polish minister of foreign affairs. There was also a panel discussion with representatives from the minority groups featured in the exhibition.
Life Festival Oswiecim 2013
In the summer of 2013, an outdoor version of the exhibition Jestem stąd was one of the main activities of Life Festival, organised by the Auschwitz Jewish Centre in the city of Oswiecim. A local TV station reported on the opening event.
The graphic novel The Search was translated into Polish in a partnership effort with the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum. The book has been used by teachers and students in several schools. In December 2012, the seminar Chances and Challenges in Using Graphic Novels in Teaching about the Holocaust was held in Auschwitz for Polish teachers. Since the specially adapted teaching materials of The Search had become available to Polish teachers, the seminar focused on the wider question of how to use graphic novels in history education. Joost Pollman from the Netherlands and Christine Gundermann from Germany gave input on the large diversity of graphic novels on genocides and on the special educational advantages of working with pictorial representations of history.
For more information on the activities organised in Poland, please contact the Anne Frank House project coordinator.
Anne Frank Youth Network
Stories that move