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  II Liceum Ogólnokształcące im. Marii Konopnickiej w Zamościu  
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"To Bring Memory Back" edition 2007-2008

Zeszpół Szkół nr 2 im. Janusza Korczaka linia

Who are we

BRODY – the Janusz Korczak School Complex no.2 and the Mikołaj Kopernik School and Educational Institutions Complex, 9 Mickiewicza Street, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska.

Why we do this project

For many years our pupils have participated in the wonderfully organized art competition on the Jewish history, culture and heritage in Poland. The competition is organized by Staromiejskie Centrum Kultury Młodzieży in Cracow and Gallery ATELIER, which is situated in the Szeroka Street, in the centre of Cracow’s Kazimierz. The gallery is located in the gothic Popper synagogue, which the Jewish community has presented to the youth as a place for their educational and artistic activity. It is also the place, where meetings, exhibitions, conferences of the International Jewish Culture Festival take place. For years our students have taken first places in the competition. According to the anecdote, always when our pupils arrive to hand over their works, they hear:” Oh… Brody are here to get all the awards again!” Well, what can we do, someone has to win. Although I am an art tutor, the Jewish culture is very close to me, for reasons I am still not aware of. It often happens that we cannot define why certain topics fascinate us. 

The place we live in, Brody near Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, is situated close to Wadowice, the town where Karol Wojtyła (Pope John Paul II) was born. No one has ever done so much for the improvement of the relations between Izrael and the Catholic Church, between Christianity and Judaism, as the Polish Pope.

Jewish community in our town

Jews arrived in Kalwaria in the 18th century. In the beginning they were living in our town Brody, one kilometer from Kalwaria. Here a synagogue and a mikvah were located. With the development of carpentry they moved to Kalwaria. They had their own synagogue there, which during the war was used by Germans as a warehouse. It stands there till today and belongs now to private owners. There is no indication of its original function, not a single plaque, even though before the year 1942 about 1000 Jews lived there. In many towns like ours the atmosphere around this subject is tense: the repeated stereotypes are awful and the topic is usually not brought up, because of the fact that most of the carpenter’s workshops had changed their proprietors overnight. The town’s library contains many books, where we can find accounts given by Jews, who survived the Second World War. But raising the topic of the Jews from Kalwaria does not seem at all appealing to most of the town dwellers. Even though so many years have passed since what has happened.   

What we do in the project

1. Learning about the history of the Jews from the region of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska and Brody.
2. Collecting the inhabitants’ reports concerning the lifestyle and culture of the Jewish community.
3. Organizing an art exhibition which presents the world of the Jewish culture.
4. Organizing the exhibition of the prewar photographs of Jewish families from the region of Kalwaria    Zebrzydowska. 
5. Organizing the 2nd Day of Judaism:  
- folk art paper cutting workshops
- dance workshops
- Jewish cuisine.

What we are going to do next

Before the end of November the junior secondary school children are to prepare their artistic works to participate in the art competition organized by Staromiejskie Centrum Kultury Młodzieży and the Gallery ATELIER in the Szeroka Street in Cracow. The showcase, as well as exhibition have recently taken place in the Kupa synagogue in the Miodowa Street, near the Tempel synagogue. Each work is different and made with a different technique. Next week we are taking the works to Cracow. When all loose ends are tied up we will attach the photographs.

At the end of November we are holding a meeting in the Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Kalwarii (the Friends of Kalwaria Association) on the topic “The Story of the extraordinary friendship between John Paul II and Jerzy Kluger”. We have written a letter to Rome to Jerzy Kluger, the best friend of Karol Wojtyła and a son of Wilhelm Kluger, a lawyer from Wadowice. Now we are waiting for the reply. We got the address from the Bishop’s Curia in Cracow. Brody and Kalwaria Zebrzydowska are inextricably linked with monastery, mystery plays, religious feasts, celebrations and religious holidays. In order to get through to those who live here, we need to touch upon the matters they respect: religion and the person who has always been connected with this place, John Paul II. On the example of his work we must make them aware of the good he had done during his pontificate. I do not assume that many people know about his friendship with the Jew from Wadowice anything more than, what the Pope said himself in the market square in Wadowice: “And in this house Jurek lived …” We have gone to the Bishop’s Curia in Cracow to ask for a meeting with Cardinal Dziwisz, so that he could tell us more of the last years of this friendship, for he knows this period very well. We will see what will happen…  

Who is helping us

We have received from the district mayor of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska subsidy for trips, entrance fees for the current year. The headmasters of both schools (we work together with the young people from the secondary school in Kalwaria and their history teacher) really approve of the project. I have been invited to give a lesson on the Jewish culture and holidays. Students got so engaged in the class that towards the end of the lesson we even danced and they did not want to go for a break!

What are we proud of

We established and stay in a very friendly contact with Mr Jerzy Kluger. He was the closest friend of the Pope John Paul II. They both attended the school in Wadowice and together were sitting for the secondary school leaving examination in 1938. Jerzy was a son of a lawyer from Wadowice. His grandfather had to buy the family name at the end of 19th, because the current sovereign, the emperor of Austria, ordered to change all Jewish names to such that sounded German. Kluger means “the wise one”. In 1939 at the end of August, Jerzy and his father, who was a reserve lieutenant, had to move to the east of Poland, where the father’s unit was situated. Since that time they had never come back to Wadowice. Their entire family had been murdered in Auschwitz: mother, grandmother and sixteen-year-old sister Tesia, the Polish tennis champion. We were very moved by the letter we got from Mr Jerzy, it was personal, warm and told about his granddaughter.


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