The Jagiellonian University in Krakow inaugurated its Center for Holocaust Studies on Jan. 17, as the first establishment among Polish colleges to concentrate on the study and research of Jewish annihilation.
Belonging to the Faculty of International and Political Studies, the Center emerged from the expansion of what was previously an office under the Institute of European Studies. Dr Jolanta Ambrosewicz-Jacobs, director of the new Center, states that, since the year 2000, there has been a worldwide appeal for the commemoration of the Holocaust, which, together with the natural development of the University, led to the formation of the Center for Holocaust Studies.
The objective is to conduct didactic lessons pertaining to the Holocaust and directly related issues. Consequently, educational materials will be designed to counteract anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia and discrimination.
The Center aims to spread knowledge on the Holocaust and other genocides through a wide range of methods, such as organized conferences, seminars, gatherings, readings, and lectures. In addition, it plans to produce its own web site, publications, and electronic database.
According to Dr Ambrosewicz-Jacobs, this area of study requires more than the straightforward presentation of dry, historical facts during lectures.
The innovative teaching methods employed are appropriate as they allow for the instigation of emotions. Lecturers themselves are also encouraged to participate in workshops and documentary film viewings. Recognizing its role in Krakow, the Center intends to organize exhibits, which will be fully open to the public.
Another key effort on the part of the Center is the development of partnerships with international and national institutes holding similar characteristics and goals, such as Yad Vashem in Jerusalem and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, with which the Jagiellonian University has been collaborating, as well as cooperation with relevant publications and scholarly periodicals.
The Center also plans to guarantee students and lecturers access to existing educational resources in Europe, Israel and the U.S. relating to the memory of the history, culture and annihilation of Jews in Poland, as well as the history and significance of Auschwitz for current and future generations.