The Jewish history of Poland is often hidden within the Polish landscape. Nazi destruction of Jewish sites, World War II and its destruction of Poland, post-war anti-Semitic destruction, have all contributed to a lack of pre-war Jewish sites remaining in Poland. Another reason for the lack of Jewish sites in Poland today, is the Polish collective memory about the Jewish population and the Holocaust. Though many Jewish sites in Poland were destroyed, the Jewish history in Poland remains. Visitors to Poland will most likely interact with Polish-Jewish history through monuments and memorials than physical historical sites in their travels. And most of the Jewish history still standing in Poland are remnants of the Holocaust: concentration camps, ghetto walls, and death camps.
This project, with the help of the digital world, will aim to make Polish-Jewish history more visible. This project will focus on the capital of Poland, Warsaw, and its Jewish past. In its end, it will be an interactive map of Jewish locations within Warsaw. The user can visit this site to use the map and discover images and more information about these Jewish sites. Users will engage with this project in order to learn more about the Jewish past in Poland. Images of the Jewish sites will show the changes that have occurred to Warsaw and users will witness how the landscape has changed. Information from images will give users information about the changing landscape. Hopefully, this project will bring up the following questions:
- How have Jewish sites in Warsaw changed over time?
- Why have Jewish sites in Warsaw changed in such a way?
- What types of Jewish sites exist in Warsaw today? And why?
- How would travelling to Warsaw be different than experiencing it through this site?
- Without this digital tool, how would people experience Warsaw?
- Is Jewish history in Warsaw remembered? If so, how is it being remembered?
In order to complete this project, various digital technologies will be used. First, Omeka will be used as a base site through which the project will function. Omeka will contain the digital collection, images (and their subsequent) information. From there, I will use various plugins, such as Curatescape, in order to create a mapping template for the site.
The goal of this project is to engage with the public about the Jewish history of Poland. The hope is that users will utilize this project to either help them do research or aide them when visiting Poland. The target audience for this project is anyone in the public who is interested in Polish-Jewish history. Many of those that will use this project will have family that were Polish-Jews. This project is also geared towards anyone interested in travel, especially travel to Poland. While this project is specifically focused on Poland’s history, it aims to help the public to not travel “blindly,” to ascertain knowledge and questions about a place’s history before visiting.