Kosher shops, places of prayer, public institutions, a kibbutz in Jazdów, craft workshops continuing the legacy of old co-operatives, the Księgarnia na Tłomackiem bookstore, Sunday Boker Tov breakfasts on Chmielna Street, and hummus bars – these are just some of the incarnations of contemporary Jewish Warsaw.
Created by the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, the online multimedia platform Jewish Warsaw available in English at http://warsze.polin.pl/en/, shows the coexistence of the contemporary city with one that is no longer there. The Warsaw presented is described by its past and present inhabitants.
It is the first comprehensive tool for people who would like to learn more about Jewish life in Poland’s capital. A variety of scenarios are available in the project: there is the mobile app to use while in the city, and thanks to the interactive website you can also explore Jewish Warsaw from any place in the world. Go back in time to the era of Antoni Słonimski, or have a contemporary tour around Jewish Warsaw, walking around the streets which have since changed.
The site consists of three projects, all available to the public. Middle school students are especially invited to use the In the Footsteps of Janusz Korczak mobile app, which offers two routes built around the life story of this famous Jewish pedagogue and physician. The extended walk route can be found on the site.
A project designed specifically for high-schoolers, Stories and Sketches, is a multimedia graphic novel. Created by Monika Powalisz and Jacek Michalski, Stories and Sketches presents the stories of nine protagonists who significantly influenced the social and cultural life of the city, including Marek Edelman, Emanuel Ringelblum, Ludwika Wujec and Helena Syrkus. This innovative and engaging project can also serve as an inspiration for teachers creating lesson plans.
Adults may be more interested in the Past and Present project, which allows users to discover the history of Jewish Warsaw. Starting at the time of the first Jewish settlements in the city, walking tours lead from Tłomackie, Nalewki, Grzybowska and Senatorska streets, through to Theatre Square and over the river to the Praga district. Comprehensively narrated, the tours also present the history of Warsaw Jews during World War II. Post-war history is presented from the perspective of twelve guides, who give the history a personal touch.
Through reading the cartoon stories of Stories and Sketches, following the footsteps of Janusz Korczak, and exploring the significant places of the Jewish community, it is possible to discover Warsaw anew from another perspective. This discovery is possible thanks to the project's multiple forms: a mobile app, online graphic novels and the original walking tours with an option to share one's own route via social media.
The multimedia platform Jewish Warsaw is freely available in both Polish and English. The platform has also been adapted to the needs of people with disabilities. It is also complemented by printed maps of the walking tours around contemporary Jewish Warsaw.
The online project Jewish Warsaw is part of the Jewish Cultural Legacy programme by the POLIN Museum.
Source: promo materials, compiled by MŚ, translated by OK, 7 March 2016