This year we’ve organized already the III edition of the project “We know your names” for high school students. The closing ceremony of the project took place in the Brzesko city hall on April 2, 2019.
– We need to remember that Jews used to constitute over half of Brzesko population prior to World War II. We are happy that their descendants continue coming to Brzesko, that they remember their roots, get engaged in various activities aimed at commemoration of their ancestors, – shared Brzesko city Mayor Tomasz Latocha.
Anna Brzyska presented the main ideas behind the project and then read the letter received from Israeli ambassador to Poland Anna Azari. “I want to express my gratitude for this valuable initiative, for your work and first of all for the fact that former Jewish citizens of your town continue living in your hearts”, – these were the closing words of the letter.
Students and their teachers listened with great attention to the talk presented by prof. Jonathan Webber, British anthropologist, professor at the Institute of European Studies of Jagellonian University, who had been rewarded with the Golden Cross of Merit by the President of the Republic of Poland, for his contribution to Polish-Jewish dialogue.
Brzesko-born Holocaust survivor Dov Landau spoke about his experiences in Brzesko and Bochnia ghettos, 5 concentration camps and Death March. Mr Landau over the years has become a true a educator dedicated to sharing the history of the Holocaust. He travels all over the world and often comes to Brzesko with groups of Israeli youth. Aged almost 91, with 3 children, 15 grandchildren and 50 great-grandchildren, he is still full of life
Students from 3 different schools took part in the project and submitted 6 works dedicated to Jews who used to live in Brzesko and different villages in the area. They not only worked with various available documents, but could also find several older people who still remember the times of the war. Due to that the students could discover some stories that hadn’t been previously known.
Aleksandra Kotra, Kamila Mamica, Magdalena Piech, Jakub Wieczorkowski and Kamil Dobrzański guided by their teacher Bernadeta Styczeń prepared presentation “We know your names” consisting of 3 parts: long interview with Dov Landau which concentrated on life in pre-war Brzesko; interview with Marian Put who used to live in Poręba Spytkowska and shared a previously unknown story of a Jewish family which had been hiding in the village, but was finally discovered and shot in the forest, and a song “We know your names” entirely written by the students. This very moving song will surely become the hymn of our project..
Students from another school supported by Dorota Pstrąg have prepared 3 works: “Forced labour camp in Czchów” by Aleksandra Reczek; “You will survive the war. You have to survive.” dedicated to war experiences of Dov Landau by Karolina Romańska and “Life of BRzesko Jews under German occupation” by Łukasz Pagacz.
Students from the school in Wola Dębińska supervised by history teacher Dr Piotr Marecik presented 2 projects: “Where have our neighbours gone?” by Jakub Bachulski and Kacper Bujak and “History of Herman and Regina Sperber” by Karolina Bober and Amelia Okrzesa.
All the students were presented with awards funded by the city mayor and the city culture center.
The article and photographs are based on the materials of Brzesko town hall and Anna Brzyska, April 2019