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Workshops and the related exhibition ‘We Were Here’

From 16-20 August 2013, Białystok will stage educational workshops that accompany the ‘Byliśmy tu’ exhibition (We Were Here). The workshops are addressed to junior- and senior high school students from the Podlaskie Province. The classes will be run by Anna Kloza, Katarzyna Niziołek and Mariusz Sokołowski. 

The ‘We Were Here’ exhibition, mounted by the Podlaskie Museum, is on at the City Hall and at the opera in Białystok. The displays comprise posters that are placed between the market square, Kościuszki Street and Odeska Street. The entire exhibition commemorates the history of the Białystok Jewish community and the uprising in the Białystok ghetto, which broke out on 16 August seventy years ago.  


Workshops are divided into five thematic blocks:

The history in objects (16 August, 10 am, the Historical Museum in Białystok) – run by Katarzyna Niziołek

The main idea behind the workshop is direct contact with the past by means of authentic objects as memory transmitters. The workshop aims at showing the significance of narration (story) in historical search and the role of ordinary people in telling history, which is equivalent to oral history on the methodological level. Participants will use their own historical knowledge, imagination and memories evoked by specific objects. They will become history tellers, history witnesses and transmitters.  

Elements of Jewish culture (17 August, 10 am, Historical Museum in Białystok) run by Katarzyna Niziołek

Time machine, which will take all participants back in time to 1939, is the leitmotif of this workshop. During the workshop, through photographs and fragments of memories, participants will learn typical Shabbat customs, related religious rules and traditional meals. Participants will learn why a synagogue cannot be called a temple, what aron haKodesh is and  how to cook a cholent recipe.  

Everyday life in the Białystok ghetto (18 August, 12: 30 pm, Historical Museum in Białystok), run by Anna J. Kloza

The main objective of the workshop is to show the day-to-day life in Białystok ghetto. Participants, working in teams, will be assigned various tasks. Each group will be provided with various didactic materials: excerpts of diaries from the Białystok ghetto, memories included in books, source texts and photographs. Participants will have to make a mental map related to one of the following topics: Everyday life in the ghetto, On the edges of normality or touching normality, Human relations in the ghetto, The situation of children and youth in the ghetto. Based on gathered information, participants will work on an extended definition of the word ‘ghetto’, including various aspects, such as history, sociology and culture.

Heroism in the Jewish resistance movement (19 August, 12:30 pm, Historical Museum in Białystok) run by Anna J. Kloza

During this workshop, young attendees will  be introduced to life stories of outstanding Jewish women who were members of the resistance movement outside of the ghetto: Bronia Klibański, Lisa Czapnik and Chajka Grossman. Participants will be given pictures of the girls and then will write a fictitious biography of each of the girls. Afterwards, based on various source materials, they will try to answer the following questions: How was it possible for girls to take part in the resistance movement in the Białystok ghetto on the so-called Aryan aide? What tasks did they do? What facilitated or hindered fulfilling their tasks? What did they feel and think during their mission? What happened to them after the end of the war? The participants will present the results of their work in a way chosen by them (i.e. mental map, collage, speaking about the life of one of the girls from their perspective)

Unarmed heroes (20 August, 10 am, Historical Museum in Białystok), run by Mariusz Sokołowski

The workshop is addressed to older students (3rd degree junior- and high school students). The  main objective of the class is to familiarise the students with historical and social contexts of rescuing Jews during WWII. Through analysing excerpts of selected feature films, the participants will learn a wide range of attitudes of Poles towards Polish Jews. The classes will be closed by creating a joint graphic project depicting the moral significance of decisions made by members of the Righteous Among the Nations.

You may sign up for the workshops by 14 August by sending an email to, including your full name, age, email and telephone number and the title of the workshop in which you are interested in participating. You may take part in more than one workshop. All workshops are free.