Vom 27. bis 31. Mai 2015 hat das Bildungswerk Stanislaw Hantz zehn Schülerinnen und zwei Lehrerinnen vom Gymnasium Nr. 2 in Włodawa nach Kassel eingeladen. Sie sollten in Volkmarsen und Vöhl, nahe Kassel, auf die Suche nach den Spuren der jüdischen Geschichte der Orte gehen.
Włodawa liegt am europäischen Grenzfluss Bug. Am östlichen Ufer des Bug beginnen Weißrussland und die Ukraine. Das westliche Ufer ist polnisch. In Włodawa leben etwa 15000 Menschen. Mitten in der Stadt ist das Gymnasium Nr. 2 zu finden. Seit mehr als 10 Jahren arbeitet das Bildungswerk Stanisław Hantz mit dieser Schule zusammen.
Włodawa wurde jahrhundertelang durch ihre jüdische Bevölkerung geprägt. 1939 waren von den 10.000 Einwohnern der Stadt 7.000 Jüdinnen und Juden. Die meisten von ihnen wurden im deutschen Mordlager Sobibór umgebracht. Zehn Kilometer von Włodawa entfernt, wurden in Sobibór zwischen Mai 1942 und Oktober 1943 mindestens 170.000 Jüdinnen und Juden ermordet.
Zu den Opfern von Sobibór gehören auch Liselotte Michel, die dort im Alter von 16 Jahren ermordet wurde. Inge Lichtenstein, ermordet im Alter von 12 Jahren. Rosa Rosenstock, ermordet im Alter von 60 Jahren. Günter Sternberg, ermordet im Alter von 9 Jahren. In der Gedenkstätte Sobibór stehen heute vier Gedenksteine. Für Lieselotte Michel, Inge Lichtenstein, Rosa Rosenstock und Günter Sternberg.
Vom 27. bis 31. Mai 2015 hat das Bildungswerk Stanisław Hantz zehn Schülerinnen und zwei Lehrerinnen vom Gymnasium Nr. 2 nach Kassel eingeladen. Sie sollten in Volkmarsen und Vöhl, nahe Kassel, auf Spurensuche gehen: Lieslotte Michel, Inge Lichtenstein und Rosa Rosenstock lebten bis 1942 In Volkmarsen. Günter Sternberg war in Vöhl zu Hause.
Am 27. Mai um 4.00 Uhr in der Früh, startete die Gruppe in Włodawa. Die Reise ging über Lublin, und Warschau nach Berlin. Pünktlich um 18.13 Uhr waren sie in Kassel.
Am nächsten Tag ging es früh mit dem Zug nach Volkmarsen. Elf Schülerinnen der Kugelsburgschule in Volkmarsen erwarteten bereits die polnische Gruppe. Nach dem ersten Kennenlernen, Begrüßungsworte des Bürgermeister und des örtlichen CDU- Bundestagsabgeordneten gab es einen Rundgang durch die Ausstellung in der Geschichtswerkstatt. Dann ging es zur Kugelsburgschule in Volkmarsen.
Eine achte Klasse hatte gekocht und die Tische gedeckt und dekoriert – einfach toll. Bevor gegessen wurde, stellten die Gäste aus Wlodawa ihre Stadt und Umgebung vor. Nach dem Essen gab es einen Rundgang durch die Schule.
Dann ging es gemeinsam weiter mit einem Rundgang durch Volkmarsen, bei dem die Lebensgeschichten von Lieslotte Michel, Inge Lichtenstein und Rosa Rosenstock im Mittelpunkt standen.
Ein kurzer Regenschauer wurde zum Besuch eines Eiscafes genutzt. Nach dem Abendessen kehrte die polnische Gruppe zurück nach Kassel.
Am Freitag ging es nach Vöhl. Ein kleines Dörfchen nahe dem Edersee. Hier stand die Geschichte von Günter Sternberg im Mittelpunkt. In der ehemaligen Vöhler Synagoge wurde seine Lebensgeschichte vorgestellt. Im Anschluß wurde das ehemalige Wohnhaus von Günter Sternberg aufgesucht. Auf dem Günter Sternberg Weg ging es zum jüdischen Friedhof von Vöhl. Zum Abschluß des Besuchs in Vöhl wurde das sogenannte Polenkreuz besucht. Ein Denkmal für sechs polnische Zwangsarbeiter, die hier 1944 hingerichtet wurden.
Am Samstag stand das Denkmal am Bahnhof in Kassel auf dem Plan. Es Denkmal erinnert an die Deportationen der Jüdinnen und Juden aus Kassel und Umgebung, für die allermeisten, eine Fahrt in den Tod. Einer der Deportationszüge traf am 3. Juni 1942 im Mordlager Sobibór ein, keine zwanzig Kilometer von Włodawa entfernt.
Den Nachmittag verbrachten die polnischen Gäste mit einer Stadtbesichtigung und
Sonntagmorgen um 9.43 Uhr saß die polnische Gruppe wieder im ICE nach Berlin.
Eindrücke der zehn Schülerinnen nach der Reise nach Volkmarsen
I learnt a lot during this trip. I had no idea about many things concerning Jews, for instance I was shocked when I found out about how the Jews were deported, that they actually thought they were going somewhere where they would be given a new house to live in and a job, that they didn’t know that they were going to the camp where they would be killed. I like the model of the Sobibor camp which we saw in Vohl. It was made really precisely.
I enjoyed the trip. The atmosphere was great and I met a lot of nice people.
I really like the fact that you treat the Jews not as numer but as individuals.You know biographies of particular people who were murdered due to their nationality and their religion.I also liked how you commemorate them, the wall next to the cemetery and short brief biographical information concerning individual Jews who were murdered during the II World War.
The atmosphere during the whole trip was fantastic and I am glad I could learn s omany interesting things from you.
The time I have spent in Germany was one of the best in my life. I have never been in Germany before, just passing, so I didn’t know the culture and customs. I was very surprised – it turned out that Germans are an amazing nation and very kind people, contrary to stereotypes.
First thing, which has etched in my memory was, how I wrote, the customs. I am impressed of the approach to history of Jewish nation. In Poland we are used to treat them as the numbers, it is usually for us Tabu theme. It is said that 300 000 people died in Sobibór and that’s all. How we could see, in Germany there are a lot of ways to remember about the Holocaust and I am very grateful for giving us an opportunity to deleve into this sad and moving, but instructive history. The ideas to honor all of the fallen people is a very lofty purpose.
I am very glad, that we could see so many important for our shared history. Our visit was very important to built bridges and break down the walls, which history has made. I am proud, that I could be a part of this project.
I am really surprised how Germans commemorate the Jewish history.When I was going to Germany I didn’t know that I would have a chance to learn about Jews and the Polish murdered during the II World War. I was surprised with how much information the Germans managed to find about particular people and with all places which were created not to forget about the Jews, to remind about them.
I think we also should try to”immerse” into the history of the murdered Jews in our town so that we can commemorate them in a similar way.
It is also important for me that the Germans want to be friends with the Polish and I think that the idea of building Bridges is beautiful.
At the beginning I would like to say that I really enjoyed the trip. It was an awesome experience which showed me how persecutions and deportations looked from Jews’ perspective and allowed me to look at them as on individuals not as a group. It changed my perception of them and thanks to it now I more understand the things they have gone throught. On the trip I could also see how Germans refer to history. I must admit that I was surprised by the fact they are doing everything to not forget about the things that happend in the past and to commemorate people who have lost their lives unnecessarily. I’m truly impressed by their work.
At first I want to say that I was really afraid about trip to Kassel. I had a lot of concerns and I wasn’t sure that everything would be OK. The first thing which I saw when we arrived, was really big smile on Mr. Ross’s face. It was amazing and after that I was sure that we were in good hands.
Everything which I had opportunity to see and hear was very interesting and new for me. The things which I like best in this trip were meetings with people who want to explore history and show different sides of really horrible period of the II World War. They weren’t afraid of saying truth for us and I would like to thank for everything what my friends and I found out during this trip.
I knew how many people died in Sobibór and how tragic things happened there but in Germany I heard the stories about murdered people who had names, houses and dreams, not only numbers on their body. It’s horrible feeling when you are standing in front of house where somebody grew up, spent time with family, enjoyed life and one day lost everything which was important for her or him. I heard stories about four people who lost their lives in Sobibór. I don’t understand why innocent people had to be murdered in such a cruel way but that trip realized me that I have duty to talk about things which happened and I mustn’t keep silent. One girl about who I heard during my visit in Germany was at my age when she was killed. It’s really hard to think about her feelings but she is a symbol for me and I am going to do everything to keep her story from oblivion. I feel that it’s my duty and I must do it for her.
I have pleasant memory of visit Volkmarsen and Vöhl. They are really beautiful towns where people remember about Jewish history. I esteem them for everything which they do for people who died during II World War. I am moved about wooden cross which symbolizes unjustly murdered Polish. When I stood in front of the monument in the forest I thought: “They were such brave and faithful to the homeland people. I didn’t see their faces or met their families but I’m sure that they need our prayer and remembrance.” It was really hard experience for me but I needed something like this to understand how my nationals lost their lives abroad and how amazing life my friends and I have. It is an important sign which means that two nations: German and Polish want to commemorate and cooperate.
The visit at the school was really cool. I met Germans students who told me something which is different between Polish and German schools. I love meeting new people and using my foreign language so that was amazing attraction for me! I hope that my new friends will visit me in Poland and I will have an opportunity to show them my town and school.
Those are my reflection about trip which you organized for us. I enjoyed meeting Mr.Ross, Mrs. Ross, Mr. Klein and a lot of people who see a bit more in their life than their career and ordinary life. I’m really glad of materials which I got from Mr. Klein. They are really interesting and give me an opportunity to get better at my German . Mr. Klein said that he would help us to explore history and we could write him to found out things which we are interesting in. It’s really important that we knew who is ready to help us so thank you for that. I think this experienced show us a new history way which is an ideal opportunity to have interesting and amazing life. Thank you for all.
I am surprised with the Germans’ attitude towards Jews. I think in Poland people know little about the culture and the impact of the Jews on our history. We speak about them as if they were only numbers and not individual people.
I am not sure if it is the same in other Polish towns and cities but when people walk around Wlodawa they don’t realise that there used to be important places connected with Jewish people.You must study the history of your town to know these things.
I like the fact that in Germany the victims of the II World War are commemorated visibly. It can mean that the Germans want to have good friendly relations with other countries and the Jews.
I think that this visit had a very positive impact on me. All the people who were engaged took care of us really kindly. They were nice, polite and friendly. We could listen to stories of a few Jews who lived in the towns which we visited. I think we all could feel the emotion in the voice of Mr Ernst as these memories were painful and really tragic.It was both touching and interesting.I am happy that I could see the German school, because I could notice what the differences between the Polish school and the German one are.
I enjoyed the whole trip and I really found no drawbacks in it.I think it has made a lot of changes in my life because I perceive history in a different way.
When I was on this trip I had a chance to learn a lot. These few days made me aware what the situation during the II World War was not only in Poland but also in other countries. The people who I met were very kind and they shared their knowledge with us willingly. This trip let me practise my German and I am really happy because of this.I also made friends with some students from the German school and I hope I will be able to improve my German with them. I was impressed with the places I saw because I could admire not only the „historical monuments” but also beautiful unique architecture.I have a lot of wonderful memories thanks to the Bildungswerk foundation.I am also impressed by the precision as far as this trip’ organisation is concerned. All of us could feel the warm welcome whereever we went. We didn’t feel as strangers but as friends with all the people we met.
Even such prosaic thins as the accomodation and the meals showed u show much you cared about our comfort and well-being during the visit.
The whole trip was organised very well. I was really happy that the Germans didn’t forget about the Polish. The wooden cross in the forest is a proof for that. I was also glad that I could meet German students and we could share our school experiences with each other. We visited a few places connected with the Jews and when I listened to stories about some of them I was impressed that it was possible to gather so much information about particular individuals. You retrieved their biographies.
I really liked all the places we visited and I wish I could come back here one day.