June 3, 2024

Participatory memory workshops with the local community in Olszewnica Nowa

Event program

On June 3, another event took place as part of the series of participatory memory workshops for the local community at the Józef Wybicki Primary School in Janówek. The aim of the workshops was to restore the memory of the burial place of 120 Roma and Jews buried in the forest in Olszewnica Nowa, murdered by the German gendarmerie on August 15, 1942.
Young people from two grades of primary school took part in the workshops. Together, we renovated two wooden plaques in the form of tombstones, and then, using a portable laser-cut device, we engraved inscriptions and symbols on the tombstones. One marker was prepared to commemorate the Roma victims with the inscription "Here rest the Roma murdered during the Holocaust", and the other for Jewish victims with the inscription: "Here rest the Jews of blessed memory murdered during the Holocaust." We consulted the symbolism and inscriptions on the wooden matzevot for Roma victims with Monika Szewczyk, a representative and researcher of the Roma community who works for the development and preservation of Roma culture and tradition. She is also an activist of the Jaw Dikh Foundation, whose aim is to initiate and support educational, creative, scientific and educational activities of the Roma community.
Monika Szewczuk co-led the workshops with the Zapomniane Foundation team. Thanks to the fact that the workshops were conducted by representatives of the Roma and Jewish communities, young people could learn the customs and symbols of both cultures.
During the co-creative part, together with the youth, we symbolically marked the burial place of Roma and Jewish women, children and men buried in the forest in Olszewnica Nowa.
The event was created thanks to cooperation with a local memory activist, historian and teacher Artur Sierawski, who restores the memory of Jewish history, places and people of the region.