The idea of organizing Holocause Remembrance Day in Wroclaw came with Yad Vashem Institute where Cukunft’s members studied as Jewish educators but it was #MakeItHappen: Remembrance Initiative that inspired us to organize a similar event for our local Jewish first, second and third generations of Jews after Shoah who do not participate in any Jewish organization’s life or community, who are successful as professionals – poets, actors or doctors but are permanent sad, unsatisfied with private life and lack of any relatives. Cukunft aim was to break with Polish-Jewish families’ Tabu of Life-after-Shoah syndrome and talk how we all “survived” being survivors.
For us the most important moment was the one when we discussed about our Jewish parents and our families’ traumas. It showed that the first, second and the third generations after the Shoah have so much in common. They have the same traumas, the same stories, the same traumatic situations appearing while our parents or grandparents were in stress. It also showed that our survivors are the most optimistic people in our community, who give us a lot of positive energy. That life is not so bad as we really think. There is a bright side of the Jewish life. We just need to open ourselves to see it.
Our biggest challenge was that we as Polish Jews don’t like and want to talk about Holocaust in general because we permanently live on the ashes of Holocaust. The Shoah topic is present on TV, in public space or literature. So it was difficult to convince people to come at all. Second challenge was that on the day of the meeting there were a lot of other official commemorations in Poland so the competition between events was very strong. Also our speakers were very difficult to discuss with because it was too many emotions around and tears. However with help of Elzbieta Magenheim and Jan Kirschenbaum we managed to lead the event quite smoothly.
For future we already planned a next such an event in September/October because different age groups found their new Jewish friends during our meeting and wanted to associate more with them. After the film presentation and discussion with special guests from Warsaw we were sitting and enjoying time together talking not only about the real, non-Jewish life, the past but also about establishing new local associations of Children of Holocaust and Second Generation so also about the Future (yiddish: Cukunft). One group decided that they would like to meet and have a Jewish group psychotherapy in order to learn how to talk about their no existing Jewish families and invisible for them the Jewish continuity. Next time we will organize a short workshop and ice-breakers for better communication.
- Opening – Holocaust Memorial Day and the Jewish Remembrance in our life – Aleksandra Wilczura, Jan Kirschenbaum
- Discussion Panel – ‘4 stories that changed the Jewish world in Wroclaw’ – survivors, children of Holocaust, 2nd Generation, 3rd Generation – Elzbieta Magenheim, Robert Chmielewski
- Integration activities (ice breakers) and refreshments,
- Film of Jan Spiewak and discussion https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zEIktLM0OY
- Refreshments and networking,
- Ending – bringing the elderly home.
Stowarzyszenie Drugie Pokolenie (Second Generation Association)
Stowarzyszenie Dzieci Holokaustu (Children of Holocaust Association)
Humanity in Action
FIO Male Inicjatywy
Studia Bliskowschodnie Academic Magazine www.studiabliskowschodnie.pl
The event was organized thanks to generous support of Charles & Lynn Schusterman Foundation and #MakeItHappen Remebrance Microgrant, Humanity in Action Actio Project and Male Inicjatywy.
Humanity in Action – Action Project are independent initiatives of Humanity in Action Fellows and Senior Fellows that address social and human rights issues around the world.