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  • Author: Karina
  • Date: 22-12-2018, 10:07
22-12-2018, 10:07

“Learning from History: Discrimination”

Category: Číôîđěŕöč˙, Information

Ukrainian-Polish-German Educational Seminar

“Learning from History: Discrimination”

November 22-29, 2018, Oswiecim, Poland

(As seen by the Ukrainian Participants)

“Learning from History: Discrimination”


     Anastasiia Petrova: When I firstly heard about the seminar and decided that I would definitely take part in it, I learnt about the main requirement for the potential participants. The task was to prepare a speech on the topic of discrimination and represent it to the panel. I started to prepare, I was searching for the information about implementation of discrimination in the past, lots of historical events, but then I decided that it would be quite boring and prepared my own point of view on this topic. And it actually worked, because after the delivering my speech to the panel I found my name in the list of participants. Then I and all other participants had several meetings with Vickie Nailing, who was the member of the panel during our speech representations. She gave us very important comments on our speeches. She emphasized strong points of our speeches and points that should be improved. In addition, she gave us also advices how to improve our ability to express our point of view. Being a USA citizen, she shared information about past and contemporary situations of discrimination in the USA with us and we shared information about Ukrainian situation of discrimination. Vickie Nailing invited her friends who work with international students at Donetsk National Medical University to the one of our meetings. They told us about the life of international students, difficulties and kinds of discrimination, which they face in our city. It was very important and useful for us, because we realized that even our own society is not perfect.

“Learning from History: Discrimination”


Karina Kovalchuk: We arrived at IYMC, an educational institution with the campus between the center of the Polish city of Oświęcim  and the former German concentration camp of Auschwitz  on November 22 very early in the morning. Being led by the organizer of the seminar Nataliia Tkachenko we got a chance to look around the main building as well as the houses to live for the next eight days. The atmosphere of the place was educationally inspiring and cozy; we had the rooms for study and for the recreation too as cafeteria and the open space to have a meeting with all other students to play pin pong. Though we were tired after a long time driving we saved some energy for the evening meeting with all members of the group. The first time seeing all the participants of the seminar was impressing as we got new Polish and German friends to exchange the opinions with.

“Learning from History: Discrimination” 


Kateryna Berezhnytska: Friday morning came and the weather agreed so well with the trip we were going to take. It was the first day of our excursion to Aushwitz-Birkenau Museum Complex, which I had heard so much about, anticipated and dreaded at the same time. You learn history, watch movies, read books, research into the topic of discrimination, think you know so much about all the horrors of discrimination, Nazis, Jews issue, and when you stop before the ill-famous metallic sign “Arbeit Macht Frei”, you hold your breath. The air is still, there is no sun shine, people never talk loud or laugh here. Because it is a big cemetery, where people’s lives had been taken away ruthlessly, in great numbers, with tortures, just for some specific reason a group of people crazily devised. Every square meter, every brick, every cobble stone of the complex preserves its terrifying story… You look at the pictures, at the things which once belonged to different people, notice how various the shoe models once were, how shapeless the camp uniform was, how mercilessly short the time for basic human needs was… and you ask the guide questions, which even if answered don’t give you the comprehension of the horrendous atrocities one group of people could commit.

I look at my friends, at other visitors, and I am glad to see not a single indifferent face. This place is horrible, but it teaches us a god lesson of history. The inscription on the wall says “Those, who don’t remember their past, are condemned to repeat”. The lesson is too dear, but it will cry out for centuries ahead.

Olena Zabiedilina: Oświęcim is almost always associated with concentration camps. But we had an opportunity to see it from another side. Once a typical European town with a market square, cathedrals, synagogues and a castle, nowadays it can boast of new housing complexes and large buildings which are developing around the city. A lot of places are decorated with street art, which appeared from the initiative of Life Festival organizers and participants. It is an entertainment music festival held since 2010 in Oświęcim. This annual event is organized at the end of June. Important elements of Life Festival Oświęcim are: a world peace message, building peaceful relations, combating racism and anti-Semitism, and all of this is conveyed through performing art. When you walk around this town now it seems very cosy and charming with its narrow streets and beautiful houses.

“Learning from History: Discrimination”


Olena Dzhus: the conclusion of our stay was a poster workshop, conducted by a professional designer from Krakow, Eva Natkanich. When it started, many of us felt a little confused, as we did not associate ourselves with such kind of activity in any way. But step by step, hour after hour, through demonstrations and discussions, we got so much involved in the task of producing a series of anti-discrimination posters, that our lunch break seemed to come out of the blue, and no one seemed to be willing to make a break. Some of us had moments of complete disappointment and frustration, and our highly professional supervisor only added to the heated atmosphere of the seminar room with her comments and remarks. Well, after a day and a half we did it! Each of us produced two or more posters on the topics previously discussed. Very minimalistic and at the same with so much effort put into them here they were – our masterpieces – all proudly exhibited in the hall of IYMC. And that was not all. Each of us had to tell to the audience what was our idea behind the image. Pani Eva was beaming with satisfaction, as she put at stake our lack of skills and experience, but in the end was generously rewarded for it by the appreciation of the guests of our “exhibition”.

Yaroslava Liovochkina: Despite the busy schedule of the seminar, we had a great deal of fun. As the center is called Youth Center, many groups there consist of young people from different countries. We spent great time mixing with them. We will keep in touch with our new Polish, German and Canadian friends.

The day before the departure we had the possibility to get closer to the soul of the most vibrant cities of Poland which is called Krakow. There we felt the atmosphere of the upcoming Christmas and browsed around a lot of historical places. Having taken a lot of pictures and having bought a lot of presents to be brought to Ukraine, we came back to Oswiecim to open the poster exhibition.

 What we learned about atrocities of Nazis in Auschwitz-Birkenau, made many of us cry, spend sleepless nights wondering what seeds such crazy ideas into the heads of some people to start mass killing of those they choose to be scapegoats…Yet, many questions stay without answers. It means, after coming back home we feel responsible for sharing our knowledge with friends, colleagues, fellow students. Maybe, together we will always remember that all people are created equal and we all have the right to be, to feel, to love and to like…


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