POLIN Meeting Point 2019
The recruitment process for the 5th edition of POLIN Meeting Point Summer Education School addressed to students from Poland, Israel, Germany and Ukraine has begun. We await applications until 1 May.
This year’s edition of POLIN Meeting Point will take place between 19 August and 1 September at POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. This year we will discuss the subject of migration, focusing on the emigration of Polish Jews in the years 1881-1939. The Summer School participants will learn about the causes that drove Jews to leave their homes and about the places they chose as their destination. They will find out what the emigrants took with them, how they settled in their new homelands, what was their bond to the old country and how they contributed to the development of the states they had settled in. They will check how the subsequent waves of emigration affected cultural and social changes in the diaspora and analyze the selected cases of Jewish emigrants, their complex life stories and difficult choices they were forced to make
The Summer School’s program is addressed to people interested in the history and culture of Polish Jews. We invite students and graduates of universities in Poland, Germany, Israel and Ukraine who obtained their degrees or certificates of completion within the past three years to apply. We encourage people eager to discuss the joint history of European states and Israel - how it affects us today and what conclusions could be drawn from it - within an international peer group. The POLIN Meeting Point program will include, i.a. study tours, discussions, film screenings, lectures and workshops run by experts from Poland and abroad, during which the participants will have an opportunity to seek inspiration for their own academic research.
Over the period of a little less than sixty years, hundreds of thousand Jews decided to leave the Polish land, often for good. They fled rising antisemitism and worsening economic situation - by sea, or railway, on foot, often risking their lives, carrying the remnants of their modest belongings. They crossed borders - legally or illegally, alone or with their families - determined to seek a better life, similarly to their non-Jewish neighbours. Even the Zionists, for whom emigration was first and foremost an ideological statement - they were driven by the desire to settle in Palestine, the historic homeland of the Jews - were aware of the enormous risk involved. Herded on decks of old vessels, depending on the corrupted crew, dreaming of starting a new life in Eretz Israel, they often lost their lives at sea.
We wish to recall the history of emigration of Polish Jews, its most spectacular and at the same time dramatic chapter - full of hope on one hand, and full of disillusions and family tragedies on the other - taking place at the turn of the twentieth century. During the Summer School, we will compare the situation of emigrants before World War One and after, when many states began to tighten their migration regulations, and the great economic crisis of the 1930s drove more people to leave their homes and simultaneously made it more difficult for them to find jobs. We will also talk about Polish government’s policy towards Jewish emigration. We will focus especially on the second half of the 1930s and on the stories of Jews - Polish citizens expelled in 1938 by the decree of Nazi German administration.
During the two-week program we will focus on the following issues (among others):
- Political and social context of the events discussed;
- Jewish emigration to the United States, Palestine, Great Britain, Germany and Argentina;
- Consequences of emigration for both the countries from which Jews emigrated and their new homelands;
- Women’s perspective and how the waves of migration changed the situation and role of women.
We will also focus on the cities of migrants: Tel Aviv and Gdynia, the latter being the location of our study tour. We will also try to reconstruct the network of connections between Polish Jews scattered all over the world and the places in Poland where their families lived, as well as the culture they created.
Detailed program of POLIN Meeting Point will be available soon.
Goals of POLIN Meeting Point
The participants will have an opportunity to:
- Develop interpersonal and intercultural skills;
- Confront their opinions with that of their peers from other countries in a safe, open atmosphere;
- Broaden their knowledge on the history of migration in East-Central Europe from the late 19th century until World War Two;
- Improve the skills of critical analysis of primary sources (including the skills of working with oral history sources);
- Get acquainted with POLIN Museum and with Warsaw, not only from a Jewish perspective;
- Take part in a study tour to Gdynia – the city that used to serve as a destination of many migrants.
Type of classes
POLIN Meeting Point equals two weeks of intensive work during workshops, lectures, discussions and integration classes to be held at POLIN Museum.
Some of the classes will revolve around the subject of our new temporary exhibition titled Gdynia – Tel Aviv, about to open after the Summer School ends.
The Summer School’s program is developed under the supervision of the Programming Council including:
- Dr Yael Granot-Bein (University of Haifa);
- Prof. Bianka Pietrow-Ennker (University of Constance);
- Dr Jolanta Żyndul (Jewish Historical Institute).
The implementation of the project is possible due to the support of the Nissenbaum Family Foundation and the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute in Poland.