by George J Elbaum
XLV Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace im. Romualda Traugutta is a public high school with an enrollment of 150 students in 3 grades (Polish high schools start the grade count at 1, so ages 15/16 for 1st and 18/19 for 3rd grade). The school is located on Warsaw’s Mila Street, in an area that the Nazis walled in as the Warsaw ghetto (and where all buildings were leveled on Hitler’s orders after the ghetto uprising of April 1943 was defeated), so teacher Elzbieta Kunowska, who organized my talk at the school, feels both obliged and privileged to teach about the Holocaust, to commemorate its victims, and to remember what happened on this very ground during WWII. The school therefore takes part in many projects devoted to the Holocaust as part of programs organized by the Forum for Dialogue and the Polin Museum of History of Polish Jews. The school truly stresses the importance of the Holocaust in its education, and its motto is: ‘’School is not a building; students, teachers and their relationship create school”
My talk was attended by 90 students from the current 1st and 2nd grades of the school, as the 3rd grade students have already graduated the previous week. In addition to Elzbieta Kunowska, the religion teacher who organized my talk, also attending were history teacher Michal Osypowicz, and English teachers Adrianna Kunka and Beata Swiatkowska, plus Violetta Tarnowska, who organized my very first talk in Warsaw at her school in 2014 and my subsequent talks in Warsaw since then.