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Polish students showcase Jewish history project
November 21st, 2016

News

Polish students showcase Jewish history project
January 19, 2008
The project, called “I Bet I Can Show You”, was an initiative of MTO/Splot in Nowy Sacz (Poland). The website, www.jawampokaze.net.pl , offers a detailed report of their work. In addition to daily agendas, instructions for scavenger hunts, city maps and multi-media presentations, you can also find many pictures, useful addresses, links, and the names of all participants in the project.

The photograph shows the students at work in front of a synagogue.

“This publication was designed and created in its entirety by these young people. We hope that by showing how the participants were affected by this undertaking and how their thinking changed during its course, others will be encouraged to become involved in similar initiatives,” says project coordinator Bruno Vastmans. Originally from Belgium but based in Nowy Sacz since the early 1990s, Vastmans is also a member of the board of MTO.

Vastmans very much hopes that others will be inspired by the project to start one of their own. He has high hopes that that will happen, noting after-project questionnaire results showed that 60 per cent of all participants would like to continue this project in their schools, while more than 80 per cent said their stereotypes of and approach to Jews had changed for the better because of the project!

Antisemitism and the persecution of Jews, notably the Second World War ‘holocaust’ which claimed an estimated six million Jewish lives in Nazi-occupied Europe, has traditionally been rooted in the Roman Catholic notion that “the” Jews were responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, Vastmans says. He notes that the church of Rome has radically altered its stance in recent decades, notably on the occasion of Vatican II council and also owing to the efforts by Polish-born Pope John Paul II, as demonstrated, for example, by his symbolic homily before the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.

Many individuals, organizations and institutions have contributed to the success of the “I Bet I Can Show You” project, Vastmans says, noting he felt particularly encouraged by the support received in words and deeds by the “Joods Humanitair Fonds” organisation (Dutch section of the Jewish Humanitarian Fund).

The project will see a follow-up in 2008 under the title ‘Listen and remember’. For details, see the Upcoming Events section on this site. Or check out MTO’s ‘Current Projects’ (go to the home page of this site, in the list with Regions [on the left] choose Poland, then under the heading Nowy Sacz click on Educational Society of Malopolska .

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