Ukrainians are invited to spend a year volunteering in Poland

, 12:49, 20.08.2023
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Auschwitz is not only the name of a concentration camp where Jews, Poles, Ukrainians and others died. It is also the name of the city, the history of which begins in the distant 12th century.

Ukrainians are invited to spend a year volunteering in Poland

The museum is part of the Polish-American Foundation Jewish Center in Oświęcim

Today, various educational and cultural institutions are located here, among them the Oshpitsin Jewish Museum. Ukrainians are invited to go there for a year and work as volunteers, as well as increase their experience and, of course, travel! The organizers cover all costs.

The museum is part of the Polish-American Foundation Jewish Center in Oświęcim. It is one of the most experienced institutions dealing with education about the Holocaust. The Foundation also has extensive experience in anti-discrimination educational programs that are offered, for example, to American cadets, as well as teachers and students, or simply to all interested people visiting the city.

We protect the Jewish heritage of Auschwitz and today we teach about the Holocaust and the dangers of prejudice and hatred. The Jewish Museum is located in the heart of the old town of Oświęcim, next to the only surviving synagogue and the former home of the last Jewish inhabitant of Auschwitz, which now houses Cafe Bergson. It is a friendly meeting place for young people from Poland, Ukraine and around the world, explains Karolina Turza, an employee of the museum.

Volunteering at the museum in Auschwitz

The volunteer program starts in September or October 2023 for 12 months. The organizers cover all costs.

- Every year, Ukrainians have the opportunity to participate in our volunteer program. This allows them to broaden their knowledge, as well as spend time in a city near Krakow and travel around Poland and Europe – says Tomasz Kuncewicz, director of the Jewish Museum in Oświęcim and invites all interested to ask questions.

What are the main tasks of volunteers? It is primarily organizing tours for groups around the Jewish Museum, the Jewish cemetery and the city of Oświęcim, as well as participation in the preparation of educational projects and cultural events for various groups (e.g. from abroad, concerts, meetings, thematic workshops for children). There is also the opportunity to work on your own projects, including the continuation of the discussion club for local youth called “English Cafe”, initiated and run by volunteers. Volunteers also help with online learning projects, e-seminars and online tours.

Auschwitz-Birkenau – a group of German Nazi concentration camps

The idea of ​​creating a camp in Oświęcim was born in Wrocław in the then Office of the Higher SS and Police Commander of the "Südost" District (German: der Höhere SS und Polizeiführer Südost). At that time, this office was headed by SS-Gruppenführer Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski.

At the end of 1939, SS-Oberführer Arpad Wigand, who was the inspector of the security police and security service there (Inspekteur der Sicherheitspolizei und des Sicherheitsdienstes), made a proposal to create a new camp in the face of overcrowded prisons in Upper Silesia and in Zagłębie Dąbrowskie, and indicated Oświęcim as a place that is suitable for adaptation in the area of ​​the temporary Wehrmacht prisoner-of-war camp existing there since autumn 1939, in the place of the pre-war barracks of the Polish Army, at the confluence of the Vistula and Soła rivers. He justified it by its convenient location and railway connections with Upper Silesia, the General Government, as well as Austria and other countries.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, like other German concentration camps in Europe, was under the management of the SS. From 1942, he was directly subordinated to the Inspektion der Konzentrationslager (Polish Inspectorate of Concentration Camps), which was managed by the SS-Wirtschafts- und Verwaltungshauptamt (Polish SS Main Office of Economy and Administration).

Throughout the existence of the camp in Auschwitz, about 8,100-8,200 SS men - members of the SS-Totenkopfverbände formation specially established to manage the concentration camps - and about 200 female SS overseers passed through it. The number of personnel changed over time and grew as the camp expanded. Some people served there on a permanent basis until the end of the camp's operation, but after some time many guards were sent to other German concentration camps existing throughout occupied Europe.


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