I Liceum Ogólnokształcące im. H. Sienkiewicza
Who are we
Henryk Sienkiewicz High School No. 1
Our school is located in a rather small city in southwestern Poland (50 km south from Opole). The population of our region represents a mixture of cultures: we have people who were resettled here from the East after the World War II, numerous German minorities and the people who call themselves Silesians.
We have 550 students in our school, and one of the classes is bilingual- they have some classes in Polish, and some in German. One of the most active student groups is the local Amnesty International, who among others realizes this project. We’ve joined the program a bit late, but it only makes us more willing to see its results and gives us more enthusiasm!
Why we do this project
Since the beginning of its existence our group promotes such values as tolerance, openness, and understanding of other cultures. We have been organizing open debates (concerning among others the freedom of speech, women rights, and the penalty of death), we have acted in defense of the minorities, people who were unjustly condemned and persecuted.
The “To Bring the Memory back” project fits perfectly with our goals; it will allow us to know better a different culture allowing us to fight against prejudices, and for dialogue and tolerance. Moreover, we will discover the new dimension of our neighborhood, unknown to us before. We will time travel to the past which most of us have never imagined. We want to learn as much as possible about Jewish culture, tradition and religion – to reach this goal we will organize workshops and trips to the places related to this matter.
Jewish community in our town
Till today we have managed to gather information about the size of the Jewish community in Kedzierzyn-Kozle, and to find the pictures of the prewar synagogue. We keep searching for the family stories- they are fascinating sometimes!
What we do in the project
We have established contact with the Jewish organizations and the Embassy of Israel; soon we will get some helpful materials from their part, and our plans include:
- gathering of the information abort Jewish society in our region using every available sources: books, interviews, museum;
- organizing workshops for the students dedicated to the study of Jewish tradition, customs and religious activities;
- preparing the photo documentation of the places related to the Jewish community;
- taking care of the cemetery;
- organizing of a contest for the model/drawing/painting of the Kozle synagogue;
- organizing trips to Cracow and Wroclaw;
- visiting places related to the Jewish culture, participating in the events;
- publication of the brochure presenting the gathered information;
- preparation of the exhibition documenting the project;
- searching for the partners who will help us realize the projects;
That’s what we managed to achieve in January:
- we’ve established contacts with the Jewish organizations (‘Czulent’, ‘Judaica’, Embassy of Israel, Warsaw Jewish Community, Jewish Culture Socjety ‘Beit’, Jewish Theater, Jewish Historical Institute, Schorr Center, Jewish Community in Wroclaw;
- we’ve prepared a school newsletter promoting the project and placed it in the schools’ main hall;
- twice a week we organize workshops for the students participating in the program. We are working on such subjects as the prejudices, stereotypem, culture, religion and tradition of the Jewish nation;
- we’ve organized a trip to Wrocław, where we visited the local Jewish Community and listened to Rabbi Icchak Rapaport, who told us about the history of the community and the synagogue;
- we’ve prepared a galery of pictures from our Wroclaw trip in our school;
- we’ve arranged a trip to Krakow with ‘Czulent’ and ‘Judaica’ groups, where we’ll be visiting Kazimierz district and participating in the workshops and expositions;
- we regularly visit the local Regional Museum, where we gain new materials for the Project;
- we gather information on the matter from the students’interviews, books and newspapers;
- we’ve prepared a trip to the local Jewish cemetery, where we took many pictures and made frottages;
- we’ve got material on Jewish culture and Israel from the Embassy of Israel, and the Jewish Community in Warsaw;
- we had some interviews with local radio station, to promote our project;
- we gathered a collection of prewar postcards of our city, along with some authentic family souvenirs;
March 2007 - we've managed to organize a trip to Kazimierz, the former Jewish district of Cracow, and we're looking forward to the art contest, incoming workshops in Czerwionka-Leszczyny and the exposition of photograms donated by the Embassy of Israel in Poland.
What we are going to do next
I 2007 – Our future plans are: to create a detailed schedule of the workshops on Jewish tradition, culture and religion. They will be organized in our school in the afternoons. Moreover, we will visit the local museum and the Jewish cemetery in Lesnica Opolska; in February we plan also to visit Wroclaw and its local Jewish Community and to participate in a meeting of the “Righteous among the Nations”. We will also install the photo exposition of the pictures taken on Jewish cemetery; we also joined the project promoting Irena Sendler as a candidate for the Nobel Prize. Next week we organize also an art contest for the best representation of the synagogue in Kozle;
III 2007 –apart from things accomplished in January and February, in March we visited Krakow’s Kazimierz; now we have to end the contest for the synagogue’s picture, participate in workshops in Czerwionka-Leszczyny and an exhibition of photograms received from the Embassy of Israel in Poland;
IV 2007 – we’ve participated in workshops in Lublin and in theatre in Chorzow; we’ve organized a great exhibition of our project in the school’s assembly hall, now we’re working on a brochure;
So far we received support of our school’s Headmasters – we count on help (financial too) of Parents Council, Town Hall, District- and Marshall Office. The cooperation with Embassy of Israel bore fruit – we’ve received beautiful photograms; moreover, we cooperate with the “Czulent” organization – great workshops!
Who is helping us
We are being supported by the headmasters of our school, we are looking forward to get more support (including financial) from the Parents Council, City Office, the Poviat Starosty and the Marshal Office.
What are we proud of
Until today we have developed a logotype for our project, and we have a detailed plan of actions; on Friday, 26th of January we visit a museum to look for Jewish traces, and the next day we will visit the Jewish cemetery in Slawiecice, to see what can be done there and make some frotages. For such a short period of activity we got quite a lot of useful information and even managed to promote our project throughout local press and radio, and, of course, we got well known in our own school. We also got some very solid promises of support from the head of our county administration.
Last but not least, we are proud of the title "School of the Month", which we got in March!