The project slogan was: ”My school – Mr. Karski – My Hero, just the beginning of our meetings…”. On October 18th, all the representatives met and presented their schools. The next morning, the gathering of Jan Karski schools was officially opened in Nowy Sącz City Hall. The Director of the Jan Karski Educational Foundation, Ms. Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka, was a guest of honor and a keynote speaker at the gala for the official opening. In her powerful speech, she said that for his determination, courage, empathy, and sensitivity to human suffering Jan Karski can serve as a good role model for today’s young people and emphasized that to be a student of a school named after him is not only a great honor but also a profound responsibility.

After the gala, the students played a city game, which provided them with a unique opportunity to visit those places in Nowy Sącz that are connected with Jan Karski. In the evening, all project participants watched an amazing performance of “Jan’s story”, created by the Nomina Rosae Foundation.


The next day, all participants took part in the Jan Karski trail, which ended in Kosarzyska, where they paid tribute to their patron at the monument in honor of Nowy Sącz couriers of the Polish Underground to the Polish Government in Exile. Later, everybody enjoyed a meal over a bonfire.


On Friday, the students had a chance to talk to the “Living Books” from the “Human Library” project, including:

 

 

The gathering of Jan Karski schools ended on October 22nd in Kąty near Iwkowa, where the participants met with Ms. Urszula Sławik, the widow of Capt. Lucjan Sławik, who helped Jan Karski recover after his escape from the Nowy Sącz hospital.

In November, a series of lessons on the role of Poles in saving the lives of many potential victims among the Jews were taught in ten schools by Łukasz Połomski. Their purpose was to promote the attitudes and values attributed to Jan Karski. The workshops helped the students envisage the atmosphere of multiethnic pre-war Nowy Sącz by comparing it to the similar environment of Łódź, where Jan Karski was born and raised. In the introduction, the teacher presented the differences between various religions and pre-war examples of tolerance. Later he told some stories about the Jews of Nowy Sącz and discussed German repressions against the town inhabitants. This served as a good introduction to Jan Karski and his Nowy Sącz story from 1940. He also talked about other people who helped the Jews during World War II. The students, though not initially very familiar with Jan Karski, were divided into groups to draw a comic book scene that would best illustrate the Hero. A representative of each team then shared their teammates’ rationale for their choice of the scene and presented their conclusions to their classmates.

The project ended with an independent report that presents its results and educational value.

 

The Project was co-financed by the Department of Public and Cultural Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland through the competition “Support for Initiatives by Citizens and Local Authorities of Polish Foreign Policy 2016”. We are most appreciative.