Report #1 about Roberta Books and Marysia Galbraith’s trip to meet Polish partners in preparation for the ADJCP’s memorial visit to central Poland. Reports include contributions by Roberta.
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.
Lena Stanley-Clamp said:
I always read your posts with great interest. I was introduced to your blog by a common friend Janusz Marciniak.
I wonder whether you would be interested in including Płock in your area of interest? I noticed that Gostynin is on your map. I believe that Gostynin used to be part of the Płock area. It is among the towns in the Descendants of Jews of Płock group on Facebook.
Płock has a lot of Jewish history and in the last few years the local historian Gabriela Nowak-Dąbrowska and her partner Piotr Dąbrowski have researched and published books and guides to Jewish Płock, some translated to English. They are registered as Fundacja Nobiscum and their website is jewishplock.eu where you will find lots of information and a contact email. Gabriela (Gabrysia) and Piotr are great people to collaborate with, they put their heart and soul in their work.
Let me know if you would like to follow up this suggestion.
Marysia Galbraith said:
Lena, Good to hear from you. Glad to know another friend of Janusz’s. It’s on my list to visit Płock, especially because some of my family’s documents are in the National Archive there. I will seek to contact Fundacja Nobiscum when I do. Unfortunately, we can’t increase the scope of the ADJCP yet. Even managing the region we cover now is overambitious. But you make me interested to visit Płock soon.
Keepers of memory…you have done a fabulous job of planning a trip for descendants to ancestral towns. This trip will be memorable and impactful for family participants and local facilitators. Your efforts to create a bridge from past to present is remarkable. Look forward to future updates!
Marysia Galbraith said:
Thank you Jill! Your memorial trip to Tarnów is my model. We hope to establish lasting connections with Polish partners on the towns of our ancestors