What stories were passed down in your families? Do you have any photos from Poland?
Roberta Books and I took a whirlwind trip through central Poland to meet with local government officials, as well as representatives of nonprofit organizations, local history organizations, and schools. Our primary goals were to introduce the the Association of Descendants of Jewish Central Poland (ADJCP), discuss ways we can collaborate on projects that commemorate and preserve Jewish history in the region, and develop partnerships with people who will help coordinate activities for the May 2023 memorial trip. I will post photos and brief outlines of our visits to 15 of the towns in our region, but first let me share some overall impressions.
First and foremost, everywhere we went, we met people interested in the Jewish history of their communities and most of them have already worked on projects preserving and publicizing that history. We are confident they will prepare an interesting program for our memorial trip.
Roberta and I made a great team. I initiated and translated most of the conversations, while Roberta kept notes on who we met and what we discussed. She also asked a lot of great questions that helped clarify what our Polish partners have done and the source of their interest in Jewish heritage.
The working itinerary for our heritage trip is as follows:
We asked our Polish partners to help plan half-day or full-day activities, depending on the size of the town. Specifically, we asked for a tour of Jewish sites, a visit to the Jewish cemetery, and one other organized activity such as a visit to a local school or a museum exhibition about Jewish residents of the town. Partners in Wloclawek and Kutno were asked to organize additional activities since we will be in these places for a full day. They will help us find translators wherever our partners don’t speak English.
We emphasized that our hope is to establish lasting connections. We asked our partners what they would like to see done in their community and how we might help. Pretty much everyone expressed the desire for personal accounts of the experiences of Jewish residents (even those told to our members by older relatives) as well as photographs. Our partners would use these materials in educational programs, exhibitions, and publications.
Do you have any stories or photographs to share? Please let us know and we will make sure they are delivered to our partners in the places where our ancestors lived.