POLIN Meeting Point – Summer Education School 2016. The Summary

The second edition of Polin Meeting Point summer school, organized thanks to the Nissenbaum Family Foundation’s Educational Fund, concluded on 31 July 2016.

Polin Meeting Point is aimed at promoting POLIN Museum’s mission and humanitarian values among Polish, Israeli and German youth and offers a unique opportunity for them to meet, interact intellectually and form lasting friendships and relationships. It emphasizes the topics of intercultural dialogue, overcoming prejudices and finding ways to deal with historical issues between nations.

The Polin Meeting Point program grew out of a need to create a platform for dialogue for young people from Poland, Israel and Germany – countries with differing narratives regarding World War II and its aftermath. Eeach year the participants confront various topics concerning Polish-German-Israeli history (including Jewish history). Fourteen participants from each country took part. 

“The Polin Meeting Point – Summer Education School offered a wonderful platform to meet students from various countries, learn from prestigious scholars, utilize state of the art resources at the POLIN Museum, and explore historic Warsaw. The seminar sparked very interesting discussions and broadened the perspectives of students coming from different backgrounds and national narratives.  Furthermore, it fostered relationships, both professional and personal, among the participants and the staff. I learned a great deal during the two week program and I am very grateful for the opportunity to have participated. I strongly encourage students from Germany, Poland, and Israel to apply!” – Devra, participant of Polin Meeting Point from Israel.

This year’s summer school explored issues related to post- World War II reconstruction in Poland and Germany, and the emergence of Israeli statehood and citizenhood. Together with invited experts, from Poland, Germany and Israel, participants discussed a number of major problems: the rebirth of Jewish communities in Poland and Germany, dealing with Holocaust trauma, and postwar violence. They also tried to determine how the history and memory of World War II had influenced reconstituted postwar identities, both individual and collective, in their three countries.

This reflection was a loose continuation of threads addressed during the first, pilot, edition of the program, which discussed the multiple dimensions of the end of World War II <link>. This is also why we invited last year’s participants for their opinion regarding this year’s theme.

We would like the principle of participation and dialogue to extend beyond participants to lecturers, who have an active impact on the school’s program by proposing lecture and discussion topics. This year’s invited experts from Poland, Germany, and Israel included:

  • Prof. Michael Brenner,
  • Prof. Atina Grossmann,
  • Prof. Eayl Naveh,
  • Prof. Bianka Pietrow-Ennker,
  • Prof. Natan Sznaider,
  • and Dr. hab. Jolanta Żyndul.

Behind us are two weeks full of lectures, workshops, discussions, study tours and almost daily meetings with witnesses of history. Within the framework of this year’s program participants talked to witnesses of history about their postwar experience related to movement of various kinds (exile, emigration, displacement). Participants were introduced to the basics of oral history: how to prepare and conduct an interview, and how to use oral testimonies in educational, research, artistic and political projects. Their interviews with witnesses of history served as a point of departure for further work on preparing a final presentation about the experience of postwar witnesses of history and of the project participants themselves in talking about the past.

The program has been developed in consultation with the Advisory Board, composed of:

  • Dr. Yael Granot-Bein (University of Haifa),
  • Prof. Dr. hab. Bianka Pietrow-Ennker (University of Konstanz),
  • Dr. hab. Jolanta Żyndul (POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews)

The project is made possible due to the generous support of the Nissenbaum Family Foundation and the Association of the Jewish historical Institute of Poland.



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