Poles, Ukrainians and Jews – past and present

The Ukrainian House in Warsaw – a centre maintained by the Ukrainians from the “Our Choice” Foundation – operates in the immediate vicinity of the POLIN Museum, at 1 Zamenhofa Street. This fact has resulted in the cooperation on various events organised by the Museum and, subsequently, in an idea for an extended educational course which could serve as a platform Polish-Ukrainian meetings and dialogue.

In the summer of 2016, we have organised expert workshops during which we attempted to define the educational needs in the field of relations between Poles, Jews and Ukrainians. Leaders of various Ukrainian organisations, migrants from the Ukraine as well as employees of the POLIN Museum took part in the workshops during which we have discussed the positive examples of activities performed and the most important challenges which lie ahead. Based on the conclusions reached during these workshops, we have created a programme for a three-month educational course for adults. We have decided to refer to various historical narratives as well as to contemporary stereotypes.

The enrolment for the course was organised in cooperation with the Ukrainian House, much like all the other stages of the project. The course was attended by 22 participants, including both Poles and Ukrainians, including one member of the Ukrainian minority in Poland. The group was very diverse in terms of age, professions and previous experience in the field of civic activities.

The meetings, discussions and workshops which formed part of the course presented an opportunity to expand one’s knowledge on the history of Polish-Ukrainian relations as well as on the history of Jews in this part of Europe. We have also considered questions pertaining to the present: what are the challenges which Ukrainians living in Warsaw face today? How should we talk about the difficult moments in our history? What are the contemporary attempts at commemorating our history and what are the related controversies? How can we react upon encountering stereotyping, prejudice or discrimination? 

The workshops were conducted both by the members of the POLIN Museum team, members of the Ukrainian House team and invited guests; some classes were conducted by the participants of the course themselves. The programme included, inter alia, a tour of the Core Exhibition, anti-discrimination workshops, meeting dedicated to the topic of migration from the Ukraine as well as historical lectures by Olga Linkiewicz, PhD (Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Science) and Vasyl Rasevych, PhD (Ivan Krypiakevych Institute of Ukrainian Studies of the Ukrainian Academy of Science). During a meeting with a rabbi, a Greek Catholic nun and a Catholic activist, we have discussed the various traditions of celebration, the cross-pollination of traditions as well as the issue of presence/absence of various faiths in the public debate and the media. An important moment for many participants of the course has been the meeting with Liya Dostleva and Andrey Dostlev – artists who talked about the process of formation of remembrance of the Crimea and the Donbas as well as the artistic attempts at addressing this issue. 

fot. K. Zawadzki/ Muzeum POLIN

 

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