The International School for Holocaust Studies
Projects of Our Seminars GraduatesAdam Musial, Poland
Zespół Szkół Ogólnokształcących STO
(Społ. Gimnazjum nr 7 & III Społ. Liceum Ogólnokształcące)
Ul. Stradomska 10
Adam Musiał is a teacher of English and, to a lesser extent, Culture Studies. He teaches in independent, non-state schools, located in the centre of Kraków, and his students are comprised of teenagers whose age ranges from 13 to 18.
He also teaches about Jewish culture and history, as well as the Holocaust, but does not do this on an everyday basis, as this, for a number of external reasons, is not possible. Instead he teaches those issues by using every opportunity of extra-curricular education, which happens a number of times throughout each school year. These include the following:
- Once a year, he supervises an educational project dealing with the Jewish and/or Holocaust history of the place that his liceum visits during their annual academic camp held in September. The camp is located in a different city each year and the students are obliged to do an educational project dealing with a certain aspect of the place (culture, art, history, architecture, etc.). In 2012 they visited Wrocław/Breslau, where he supervised the project “Jewish Breslau”. In 2012, in turn, he supervised the project “Everyday Life in the Warsaw Ghetto” during a camp held in Warsaw.
- Occasionally, he teaches about Jewish holidays (Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Hanukkah, etc.).
- He does field lectures in the areas of Kazimierz, or the Kraków Jewish Quarter, and the former ghetto, both with the students of his school and other schools.
- Whenever invited, he teaches about Jewish Kraków by giving guest classes in other Kraków schools.
- For the last two years, he has co-organised (with Maciej Zabierowski, the Yad Vashem Regional Representative and the Galicia Jewish Museum) and conducted an educational session to Kraków liceum students on the Polish Holocaust Remembrance Day (19 April).
- In September 2011 and 2012, he also gave lectures to the scholarship holders of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation from the countries of the former Soviet Union on the history and culture of Polish Jews and the Holocaust.
- He also gave workshops to Polish and Israeli teachers during a seminar organised by Yad Vashem and the Polish Centre for Education Development.
- His current undertaking is to make the Board of his school put up a plaque on the building of our school, commemorating the Jewish Trade School that was located in the same building before WWII. He gave a short speech on that school at the school-year opening ceremony in September 2012.
He participated in a Yad Vashem Seminar for Polish Educators in November 2010. As part of it, he took part in a meeting with two Holocaust survivors, who happened to be Genia and Nahum Manor, Kraków Jews now living in Israel. The meeting touched him so deeply that he decided to create a multimedia presentation for his students about Jewish Kraków, showing a variety of aspects of Jewish life in interwar Kraków and Poland. He wove into the narrative elements of the personal story of Genia and Nahum Manor. In addition to his personal liking for them, there was an educational rationale behind his decision, as he wanted to impress it on his students that interwar Jewish life and culture, and its legacy to be remembered, was not only that of a collective community, but also of ordinary individuals like Genia and Nahum. The presentation has the form of a quasi-documentary, with the photos and text flowing automatically to the accompaniment of music in the background. The copy available on the Yad Vashem website is, for copyright reasons, without the music.
He later added to the presentation other educational materials on Jewish Kraków, dealing with Jewish-Polish identity, religion, politics, culture, sport, education etc. All those materials constituted an essential part of his presentation at the 8th International Holocaust Education Conference in Yad Vashem in June 2012, where, by means of the Kraków example, he tried to show how to teach about the Jewish legacy of a place.