Poland revives its Jewish past





The communists who took over after World War II imposed a wall of silence on a century of Jewish life here, but this has steadily crumbled since the regime's collapse in 1989.

Today, cultural festivals, cemetery restoration programmes across Poland, school Jewish history classes, national commemorations and burgeoning academic research are reclaiming the past.

The communists who took over after World War II imposed a wall of silence on a century of Jewish life here, but this has steadily crumbled since the regime's collapse in 1989.

Today, cultural festivals, cemetery restoration programmes across Poland, school Jewish history classes, national commemorations and burgeoning academic research are reclaiming the past....

By early 1946, a year after the end of the war, Poland's Jews numbered only around 200,000, according to the Polish statistics office.

Warsaw secondary school history teacher Robert Szuchta is a pioneer in Holocaust education in Poland who has also built an international reputation....

"I don't have any family reason for doing this," he said, noting that he does not have Jewish roots. "My personal reason is that this all hurts me everywhere."

Polish-Jewish and Holocaust history are compulsory subjects through three levels of secondary schooling in Poland, taught within the main history curriculum as well as in literature, geography, civics and philosophy classes.

Szuchta said he seeks to paint an honest picture. He steers his way between those in Poland who push the idea that every Pole heroically saved a Jew from the Nazis and those abroad who push a caricatural image of Polish anti-Semites turning in their Jewish neighbours....



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