German-Polish student exchange with the Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace

Polen Austausch

From 28 January to 1 February 2024, 14 students from Years 11 and 13 of the Nelson Mandela School Berlin met 20 Polish students from Strzegom in Morawa, Poland.

On the first day, after we had settled into our beautiful and historic rooms, we got to know the students and teachers from Strzegom over coffee and cake. This was followed by lively games with the Polish group to get to know each other and break the ice. The visit to the Groß Rosen concentration camp the next day was one of the most moving moments of our trip. The students were guided through the exhibition and the grounds by Polish museum staff and, after a minute's silence, were given the opportunity to lay flowers for the countless victims of Nazi terror.

In the afternoon, the students were able to explore the town of Świdnica together for a few hours and then we travelled to Kreisau. There we were given a guided tour on the topic of "Resistance in the Nazi era" near the "Berghaus", the conspiratorial meeting place of the resistance fighters of the Kreisau Circle, including Helmut James Graf v. Moltke.

The next day, we explored the Nazi past in greater depth by working in German-Polish groups to analyse the persecution of various groups, such as homosexuals, Sinti and Roma, political dissidents, disabled people, "asocials", etc.

A special highlight was the meeting with the author Agnieszka Dobkiewicz, who researched and wrote a lot about the victims of the Nazi era in her book "The Girls of Groß Rosen" and was therefore able to answer many questions from this period.  We spent the evening together with the Polish group around a campfire.Those staying overnight in Morawa had the pleasure of meeting 97-year-old Melitta Sallai.She was born in the house and is a contemporary witness whose memories give a good account of how she experienced the period from 1933-1945 and after the war. 

All workshops took place repeatedly in Polish-German groups, thus serving the formation of transnational groups, dialogue and the possibility of a change of perspective among young people from different nations.

We would like to thank the Berlin Senate and the German-Polish Youth Office for their financial support in realising the project.

Polen Austausch Endbild