This year, due to the pandemic, the Action Reconciliation Service for Peace summer camp at the International Youth Meeting Center was organized digitally for the first time. In the summer camps, the participants* usually learn and work together for two weeks on site at the IYMC. First, they learn about the history of the Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp through guided tours and workshops, and get to know the city and history of Oświęcim – especially the Jewish history. During the second week of their stay, the participants* often carry out preservation work at the Jewish Cemetery in Oświęcim or go in search of historical traces, such as in 2018 when they made the traces of Oświęcim's Jewish history visible in a photo project, for which they were awarded a special prize.
During the week of 02-06. August 11 young people met thus not in a seminar room in the IYMC, but in the seminar room on Zoom, in order to become acquainted also in the virtual space first with the history of the city Oświęcim, but also with that of the German occupation politics in Poland and the German-occupied city Auschwitz in interactive Workshops, before they were led on the third seminar day virtually by a Guide of the education center of the memorial Auschwitz Birkenau with the help of the Auschwitz panoramas. https://panorama.auschwitz.org/
But there was also the opportunity to get to know an individual fate, the story of Halina Birenbaum, and to discuss how to deal with Nazi perpetrators after 1945.
During the entire summer camp week, the participants also went in search of traces in their respective places of residence. They were on the lookout for places of remembrance - places that are connected to the Nazi era or Jewish life before the Holocaust. They uncovered the stories of these places and also recorded what meaning these places have for them.
Even though the participants expressed their satisfaction with the organization and the implementation in the evaluation forms, we hope to be able to conduct the next summer camp in presence again.
Here are the results of the 2018 summer camp once again for you to read: