by George J Elbaum
XXX Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace im. Jana Sniadeckiego is a public high school with attendance of 400 in 3 grades (Polish high schools start the grade count at 1, so ages 15/16 for 1st grade and 18/19 for 3rd grade). The school has an impressive website showing current activities and academic competitions in which its students participate, including competition in English fluency. Approximately 100 students volunteered to attend my talk as they felt that their English was good enough and would not need any translation. (Indeed, they seemed quite comfortable not just understanding but also speaking English, per my subsequent chats with several of them.)
The school’s students also volunteer and take part in Forum for Dialogue programs dealing with Jewish history in pre-WWII Poland, and a wonderful example of this is an email I received from one of the students a few days after speaking there:
“Good evening, Sir! I am a student of XXX High School named after Jan Śniadecki in Warsaw. As You asked, I send You link for Facebook website of our school project. „Wiem Na Czym Stoję” (“I know what I stand for”) is about Jewish history in Warsaw, we find places that are connected to Jewish people and post photos on our site. https://www.facebook.com/pg/wiemnaczymstoje1/posts/ Once again I want to thank You for Your visit to our school. It is so important and so brave for You to tell Your story. It was a big honour to meet You. Thank You for everything. Martyna Banat”
My talk at the school was organized by teacher Anna Jeleszuk (History and Social Studies) and I was introduced by the school’s Director, Marcin Konrad Jaroszewski. It was organized by Violetta Tarnowska, who had organized my very first talk in Warsaw at her school in 2014 and my talks in Warsaw since then.