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Old projects

HF (2009-06-07)

Polish-German educational project: "People and human rights in the area of Lublin - between tradition, Nazi terror and modernity"

In October 2012 we were visited by German students from Annette-von-Droste-Hülshoff Gymnasium in Münster.
The German group together with students of Stanisław Staszic High School No. 1 participated in the educational programme devoted to such issues as: socio-economic conditions in Poland and the Third Reich prior to the Second World War, the situation of Jews during the war, the Holocaust commemoration in the Lublin Region and modern challenges faced by German and Polish society.

Financial support for the project was provided by the City of Lublin. The project was supported by the following institutions: Stanisław Staszic High School No. 1, The Grodzka Gate-Theatre NN Centre, State Museum at Majdanek, and the "Synagogue" Centre in Zamość. The Homo Faber Association was the Polish partner of the project.

Welcome to Lublin

The project “Welcome to Lublin” is addressed to foreigners who live or study in Lublin. During its realization we would like to give foreigners and people who most often are in contact with them an opportunity to meet and to understand their mutual needs. We are going to prepare an inquiry desk and an internet portal through which we will try to solve as many everyday problems as possible. Moreover, we are also going to offer trips, meeting and workshops to the students from abroad that would provide them with an opportunity to get to know our city and learn how to function in it. We are also going to reach all the institutions and companies that are in contact foreigners and try to encourage them to take part in the training programme concentrating on the foreign cultures and their traditions, and also introducing language basics. Finally, at the end of our programme we are going to prepare directives thanks to which the quality of foreigners’ life in Lublin should significantly improve.
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In July 2005 we celebrated the twenty - fifth anniversary of the establishment of the Solidarity movement. In connection with the anniversary, we decided to organize a wide range of events in order to acquaint people - especially the youngsters – with the atmosphere of those days. As a result, we went on a trip across Poland in a railway carriage.
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About us (About us)

During the month, twelve of us managed to visit seventeen cities, telling people what was going on in Lublin in July 1980, also informing them that strikes, protests and stagnation periods occurred in Poland also before the events in Gdańsk.

During our trip, we managed not only to collect a wide range of different materials such as stamps, newspapers, photos, but also records of the memories concerning those days . We managed to gather approximately 40 hours of recordings.

www and photos 

The International Film Festival Watch Docs

The International Film Festival Watch Docs exists since 2003. Local Non-Governmental Organizations, academic centers as well as community centres in cooperation with the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights organize reviews of documentary films and design their own programs concerning mass events.

Six similar events took place in Lublin, Toruń, Częstochowa, Kielce, Białystok and Piła in 2003. Now, we have several editions of local festival.

The International Film Festival: Human Rights in Film was created by the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights in 2001 in cooperation with Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle (with the help of the Foundation: ,,Młode Kino’’ in 2001).

The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights organizes the Warsaw film festival on annual basis in December- the month, in which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed. During the festival, people are acquainted with documentary films regarding the topic of human rights. There is also a number of mass events, especially debates and meetings with people who specialize in human rights laws and individual freedoms.

All the festival screenings or other events is free of charge. The festival is a non-commercial event. The highlights are always documentary films and reports, which are distinguished by high artistic value.

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Following Singer

During the 2006 Summer Holidays we decided to take a trip. As a guide book we adopted stories of a Polish Nobel Prize laureate, I.B.Singer, who is not well known to Polish students. The route was chosen in such a way as to include the cities and towns mentioned in his stories. We used an old coach as our means of transport.

For a month we were traveling around the Lubelszczyzna Region, to the former shtelts (Jewish towns). We were looking for signs of former multiculturism there. We met people that still remembered something from that time. We listened to them and recorded what they told us.

In the evenings we tried to organize free meetings on which we were reading Singer’s stories, singing in Yiddish and talking. We even managed to organize a few of these meetings in old synagogues.

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13.12 Peers

Usually the Martial Law is not the topic for history classes in Polish schools. There is no time for this anymore because it is June, the school year is coming to an end, teachers are giving final grades and preparing diplomas with honours. Pupils wearing white shirts and holding flowers are planning their holidays. Politics and Polish history books have already been sold and are now lying in somebody else’s lockers. Pictures of tanks and dark spectacles are usually the only remaining pieces of information.

The concept was easy- let’s find someone to tell us about it. No veterans, no pathos, no puffing up.
It would be best to talk to people who were teenagers at that time – those who were too young to take part in real conspiracy, too young for “Solidarność” and interment, but old enough to be able to assess those times and try to make a difference in that reality.

The goal of the project was to juxtapose two realities of adolescence and two realities of action. It was eminent that on both sides people taking part in the project were active, creative, reactive. The question asked at the beginning ‘what was and what is the Martial Law for young people’ produced in a multidimensional story of concerts, alternative theatres, second hand literature, history lessons, scout camps, ‘Opornik’ newspapers, militia and the famous missing episode of ‘Teleranek’ – a daily TV programme for children (The day general Jaruzelski announced the decision to impose Martial Law in Poland ‘Teleranek’ was not broadcasted. That was interpreted as a sign that something important was going to happen.)

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Lemel and Cypa

The idea came to our minds out of the blue. During our trip “Following Singer” we heard a story about a touring cinema which was stopping in small towns in the Lubelszczyzna Region (Poland) and thrilling the local communities.

In times of home-cinemas, video rental shops, satellite TV and downloading software, a film per se is nothing special unless… the main characters is our classmate, neighbour’s son or grandmother’s pot.

We involved students from the Ulanowo grammar school in the project whose the main goal was to shoot a film. For half a year through entertainment they were discovering the forgotten history of their town and their neighbours- Poles and Jews. We were walking down the narrow streets looking for signs, trying to find the town boundaries. We were reading macebas at the nearby Jewish cemetery and asking people questions what the former townsfolk looked like. Then we were reading the I.B. Singer stories. We chose one of them entitled ‘Lamel and Cypa’. She was from Chełm, he was from Ulanowo. A couple of idiots who, thanks to their clever matchmaker, first got married, next got to know each other and finally fell in love with each other. Thanks to the workshop we learnt what clothes Lemel should wear, how to do Cypa’s hair, how to show the celebration of Shavuot, (Jewish holiday), what the mikvah was, and when Jews were going to the synagogue to pray. The funny story conveys a simple message- despite the differences, the same stories make us laugh.

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Shtetl 2007

We took another trip in the summer of 2007. We wanted to check, to search, to find, to talk with people who not only remember their Jewish neigbours, but hid them form enemies during the occupation/ war. We had a list with names and information about the places of their residence during the war. Sometimes the names of the saved ones were accompanied with concise information, rarely we also had the current address of those who helped.
Since 1963 the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem has been awarding medals - Righteous Among the Nations - to those who saved Jews during the Holocaust. About 6 thousands (out of 20 thousands) medals were given to Poles.
We took the trip to reveal another part of history, which Poles are still treating like a taboo.
Apart of some recorded stories told by the Righteous, we brought shocking image of Jewish cemeteries in Poland which are still delved inside to find would-be treasures, and synagogues converted into garages, stores or swimming pools.

www and photos

Polish-Israeli Exchange 2008

From 20th to 27th of October 2008, a group of young people from Rishion Lezion (partner town of Lublin) came to our city. The meeting was a result of our long cooperation, of the mutual visits from students and teachers from both places, as well as our involvement in some smaller projects. In February 2008 Polish students, participants of the project, went to Israel for the first time where they stayed with Israeli families.

Two schools from Lublin take part in this project: Stanislaw Staszic Comprehensive High School No.1 and Maria Konopnicka Comprehensive High School No.7 as well as Amit-Amal Municipal Comprehensive High School No.3 in Rishon LeZion, Homo Faber Organization and ,,Brama Grodzka –Teatr NN’’ Centre.

As part of the project, a group of thirteen students came to Poland from Israel. During their stay in Poland, they saw Lublin and the region. The young Israeli had the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the history of the entire region from the perspective of its tradition of multiculturalism. Both groups of students also took part in workshops prepared by Homo Faber Organization.

Thanks to the Polish-Israeli exchange, the students were able to visit not only Lublin, but also places like Zamość, Bełżec, Kazimierz Dolny and Sandomierz.


If the war never happened…

The multiculturalism of Lublin is a term which is used to describe the past of the town or, on the other hand, the challenge that Lublin is facing. Unfortunately, it is often used as a slogan, a keyword without associations, no deeper thought or knowledge.

The aim of the project ,,If the war never happened” is to provoke artists, writers, as well as regular citizens to broaden their knowledge of the city and to prepare a project that would depict the vision of Lublin as a city which never went through the harsh experience of the war. Furthermore, this knowledge and experience could then be used for educational purposes. The form of the projects is not resticted by rules. It can be everything; from pictures, paintings, digital photos, through texts, stories, video, up to public events. The results of the project will not be kept only in a gallery. Its purpose is to persuade people to give some thought to the challenges facing Lublin in the area of multiculturalism. On the other hand, the project will be used as a source of educational materials.

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The Queer Film Festival "a million different loves!?"

The Queer Film Festival “a million different loves!?” was the first cultural event in Lublin to deal with the issues of gender equality, rights of LGBTs, and discrimination on the grounds of gender and sexual orientation. These are the most urgent problems concerning human rights in our country. The festival took place between 9th and 12th December 2008 in Przestrzeń Działań Artystycznych Tektura (the Space of Artistic Activity Tektura).

The first edition of the festival encompassed movies and meetings with the guests such as Kazimiera Szczuka, Krzysztof Tomasik and Tomasz Kitliński.

Lublin Festival was part of bigger, national event that will take place in various Polish cities from October 2008 to February 2009. The Festival is organized by Fundacja Inicjatyw Kulturalnych Plaster (Foundation of Cultural Initiatives Plaster) and Nieformalna Grupa “a million different loves!?” (Informal Group “a million different loves!?”) The Lublin edition was organized by Stowarzyszenie Homo Faber. The Queer Film Festival was part of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Festival was financed under Akademia Obywatelska IV (Civic Academy 4) project by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy - Fund for Non-governmental Initiatives.

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The genocide project

The aim of this project is to improve students’ awareness of history, make them tolerant people who understand how dangerous racism and anti- Semitism can be and to commemorate the memory of those who were killed. Additionally, hoping for better, more honest future in democracy and respect for human rights, we want to help the young people realize the role of propaganda and manipulation in those crimes.

The participants are 17-18 year old high school students from Poland and Holland – 17 from each country. English is the project language. The young people will meet for a one week session in May 2009 to study about the Holocaust, Armenian genocide, Holodomor, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia…They will stay with Polish families in Lublin.

The first step is getting the general knowledge about genocide through movies, lectures and literature (for example a BBC documentary “Five steps to tyranny”) and visits to authentic sites (the State Museum at Majdanek, Bełżec Memorial Museum). The last stage is group work on the given topic using eye-witness accounts (if possible from different regions). Every group of 2 to 4 students will be of mixed nationality.

The participants are supposed to prepare a presentation on their topics that will be shown to a wider audience – their school community.
The special part of the project is voluntary work for the State Museum at Majdanek where the students clean and help restore the prisoners’ washbasins.


Whispering Lublin 1989
The ‘Whispered Lublin’ project is an idea for not an original account of the history of Lublin of the year 1989. The history is recounted by the people who were involved in the elections of June 1989 – the people who proved important for the building of the civil society, for the progress of democracy as well as for the political and social transitions. Moreover, the project is aimed directly at specific recipients and, what is the most important, it is going to take place in the city space. The Whispered Lublin is a new method of guiding around Lublin. It is simultaneously individual, personal and advanced.

First we recorded the memories of 6 people who are important for the city and who could tell their stories in an appealing way. We also prepared English, Ukrainian and Byelorussian versions. Next we worked on the recordings and prepared the website which allowed for easy download of the recordings/guides for the mp3 player or a cell phone.

The recipients of the project - mainly young people - go to an appointed place and press „play”. In the headphones they hear the story told directly to them. They start the journey around the city listening to the stories of the places they pass by.

On June 4th as a promotion of the event we organized jointly, though also individually, the listening of the recorded stories and a walk along the described route. This event, that was a kind of a ‘flash mob’ gathered many young people.

The web page is the supplement to the recording, where one can find other storied by the people who participated in the project, as well as photographs, videos and links to other web-pages about the latest history. The young people of Lublin are the primary recipients of the project. The unusual form of the project is supposed to arouse their interest in the latest history of Poland. The rich web page will also become a great help for teachers – listening to contemporary history as told by actual participants of the events will definitely appeal to young people more than history written in books. It is important to emphasize that this form enables constant supplementing of sources and adding next ‘guided walks’ in the future.

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Walk through Brzeźno

 A Walk through Brzeźno is another animation/educational project of the Homo Faber Association. This time the activities take place in Brzeźno. The participants of the project are pupils of the third and sixth grade of Primary School in ZSO from OI. The teachers: Renata Górska and Anna Jabłońska are the coordinators from the school.

Brzeźno is a small town situated near Chełm, which has always been the meeting place of two cultures and denominations: the Orthodox Church and Catholicism. Although the first note about the town dates back to 1443, there is little information of it's history in the documents from this region. Because of the relocations in the past most people living in Brzeźno are not the native inhabitants of the place. There live only a dozen or so families who remember the times before the war while the majority of the former citizens of Brzeźno and their progeny live near Olsztyn and on the Ukraine. To both the former and the contemporary citizens of Brzeźno we wish to offer a walk through the town. We intend it to be an occasion to show many interesting places which are associated with the history of Brzeźno. We would like to make a movie from the event as that form, as was shown by our previous experiences, is one which appeals to young people the most. The script will be based on the memories of the town’s citizens. While preparing the script we will organize workshops about the history of Brzeźno as seen from the perspective of its citizens. We will also concentrate on tracking the traces of the past, on reaching back to the people memories and analyzing the documents about the bygone times.

Since October the participants of the project have been taking part in history, music and theatre workshops to be ready to make a movie about their town in April. The first of the movies was screened on 28 June 2009 year in Brzeźno.

We are working on the „Walk through Brzeźno” Project in association with a Complex of Secondary Schools with Integration Facilities in Brzeźno and the Cinema-theatre Project Cultural Centre in Lublin. The resources for the realization of the project come from „For Tolerancen” programme of the Stefan Batory Foundation.

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Lublin is friendly 

The project „Lublin is friendly” was aimed at the foreign students of Lublin's institutions of higher education. Those involved in carrying out the project (theCulture Department of the Municipality of the Lublin City and Homo Faber Association) were interested in gathering information on the experience of the foreign students in the city – how it is to study and live here. They wanted to be aware of their problems and needs, and concentrated especially on the questions: what do they like about the city, and what they think should be changed in matters of culture. The organizers also wanted to learn to what extent the foreign students participated in the cultural life of the city, whether they were interested in taking part in cultural events, and whether they would be willing to organize such events themselves. Read more.

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Stranger? Getting closer - the Chechnyan childhood

As part of our co-operation with Ecological Association „For Earth” we were a partner for the next project realized by „For Earth”. The project „Stranger? Getting closer – the Chechnyan childhood” was directed to a number of target groups: teachers in the school attended by children of the refugees in Łuków, to the local community living in the neighborhood of the centres for refugees, as well as to the society of Lublin – the citizens and students of Lublin’s Universities.

As part of the project the following events were organized:
- a training concerning the work with the refugees' children – for the teachers of The Primary School No. 5 in Łuków which is attended by about 70 Chechnyan children. The training given by the coaches – Joanna Gospodarczyk and Izabela Podsiadło – Dacewicz.
- „The Chechnyan Day” for the children in Primary School No. 5 in Łuków, with the participation of the Chechnyan theatrical group from Łuków and also Polish and Chechnyan children from Warsaw from the school in Raszyńska Street.
- meetings directed at students and citizens of Lublin, to which we invited Krystyna Kuczab – Redlich – the author of the book “Banging one's head against the wall of the Kremlin”, Issa Adger – Adajew, Justyna Laskowska – Otwinowska and Miss Zula.

The events were accompanied by a photogallery „ Chechnya 2007 – 2009” by Iwona Kaliszewska and Olga Mielnikiewicz.

The project was realised by The Ecological Association „For Earth” in partnership with Homo Faber Association, The Students Journalist Association UMCS, the Office for Foreigner Affairs Office and The Primary School No. 5 in Łuków.
The Project "Stranger? Getting closer – the Chechnyan childhood” was partly financed by The Education for Democracy Foundation as part of the foreign aid programme by the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Polish Republic in 2009 year”.

photos: "The Chechnyan Day", metting with Krystyna Kurczab-Redlich, meeting with Issa Adger-Adajew and Justyna Laskowska-Otwinowska